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AN ENGLISHWOMAN S 
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS 
IN TROPICAL AFRICA: 

BEING THE BIOGRAPHY OF GWEN 
ELEN LEWIS, MISSIONARY TO THE 
CAMEROONS AND THE CONGO 



BY 

GEORGE HAWKER 

MINISTER OF CAMDEN ROAD BAPTIST CHURCH, LONDON 
AUTHOR OK "THE LIFE OF GEORGE GRENFELL" 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAP 



HODDER AND STOUGHTON 

LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO 
CAVEN LIBRARY 

KNOX COLLEGE 

TORONTO 



81608 



V 



To 
WILLIAM COULSON PARKINSON, 

WHO HAS SERVED THE BAPTIST MISSIONARY SOCIETY 
ON COMMITTEE FOR TWENTY-TWO YEARS, WHO WAS 
SUPERINTENDENT OF CAMDEN ROAD CHURCH SUNDAY 
SCHOOL WHEN GWEN ELEN THOMAS WAS A TEACHER, 
WHO BECAME AND REMAINED HER TRUSTED FRIEND, 
WHOM THE AUTHOR ALSO GLADLY CLAIMS AS FRIEND, 

THIS BOOK IS 
AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED. 




- S. IT. E. ; 

iZuWf 






IN July, 1910, I was requested by the Committee 
of the Baptist Missionary Society to write the 
life of Mrs. Thomas Lewis of the Congo. I had 
shortly before arranged with Mr. Lewis to under 
take the work independently ; but it accorded well 
with his feelings and my own that it should be 
done under the direction of the Society which Mrs. 
Lewis had served for five-and-twenty years. Un 
fortunately the final decision was not arrived at 
until Mr. Lewis was on the point of returning to 
Africa, having already sent forward his wife s- 
journals and papers. Consequently, in executing 
my task, I have missed the great advantage of 
consultation with him. Chapters III., IV., V., and 
VI. only have received his revision. 

When I asked him about materials, he replied : 
" If you can get hold of the Hartland letters, you 
will have almost all you need. Gwen wrote to one 
or other member of the family by every mail 
during all her missionary life, and told them 
everything about her work which was worth 
the telling." 

The Misses Lily and Alice Hartland were kind 
enough to place " the Hartland Letters " in my 
hands. The series was not complete, some letters 



vi PREFACE 

having been destroyed, and a few lost. But the 
remainder constituted a great mass of most 
valuable material, and this book is largely based 
upon it. On September 12th I received from Kim- 
pese a small trunk filled with Mrs. Lewis s journals 
and papers ; and meanwhile important parcels of 
letters were entrusted to me by the Misses 
Percival, Mrs. John Jenkyn Brown, and Miss 
Taylor. I am also specially indebted to Mrs. 
Percival, the Misses Hartland, and Mrs. W. C. 
Parkinson, for personal recollections, and for 
many suggestions and corrections. 

The Rev. C. E. Wilson, B.A., General Secretary 
of the Baptist Missionary Society, has given me 
the freedom of the Mission House for the con 
sultation of books and papers ; and the Rev. 
Lawson Forfeitt has helped me in many ways, 
especially in arranging the illustrations, and in 
reading the proofs. 

To these, and other friends whose names are 
mentioned in the text, I acknowledge my obliga 
tions with warmest thanks. 

In the numerous passages selected from Mrs. 
Lewis s letters, the reader will observe that the 
name of the correspondent is sometimes given. 
When no name appears it must be understood 
that the citation is from " the Hartland Letters." 

As my task neared completion I realised that I 
had been guilty of one grave omission. During 
more than twenty years of her missionary life 
Mrs. Lewis was in frequent communication with 
Mr. Baynes, her official director, whom she re 
garded also as a most dear and honoured friend. 
Yet so far as I remember, there occurs in this 



PREFACE vii 

book but one incidental and oblique reference 
to Mr. Baynes s esteem for her. Observing this 
I wrote to him, expressing regret for my default, 
and begging him to send me a few lines of appre 
ciation of his friend. With prompt kindness he 
wrote the following letter, which contains what I 
wanted, with some embarrassing additions. My 
respect for him prevents me from cutting up 
what he has been good enough to write ; and if 
I incur reproach for printing appreciation of 
myself, I must bear it meekly for his sake. 

" MY DEAR MR. HAWKER, I am indeed most 
thankful to learn that you have undertaken to 
write a Memorial of the life and labours of my 
intimate and much-valued friend Mrs. Thomas 
Lewis, who gave herself with such whole-hearted 
consecration to the uplifting and enlightenment 
of the native peoples of the vast Congo Region 
of Central Africa, and whose name and labours 
will live for long years to come in the hearts and 
memories of those on whose behalf she toiled so 
lovingly and so cheerfully, and bravely endured 
such hardships and privations. 

" I cannot help saying I know of no one who 
can tell the story of her consecrated life and 
labours so sympathetically as yourself, her beloved 
Pastor and her valued friend and adviser. Her 
name will ever be associated with your Church 
at Camden Road, from which have gone forth so 
many heroic missionaries and martyrs whose one 
desire it was to bear to the benighted peoples of 
Central Africa The Light of Life, counting it 
highest privilege to tell out the Story of His Love, 



viii PREFACE 

Who though He was rich for our sakes became 
poor." 

"For many years I had the joy of intimate 
friendship with Mrs. Lewis, and a more devoted, 
-consecrated missionary I have never met. It is 
a great satisfaction to me that you have under 
taken to write the story of her life and labours, 
and I trust that as the result many may be led 
to follow in her footsteps, who shall realise in 
doing so a joy akin to that which inspired her to 
the end, and described in her own words : 

" No toil so sweet, no joy so deep as 
following in His footsteps who gave Himself 
for us. 

" Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. 
"With sincere regard, 

"Yours as ever, 

"ALFRED H. BAYNES. 

May the good wish of one who has been a 
great helper of the cause of Foreign Missions 
be graciously fulfilled. 

GEORGE HAWKER. 
ANSON ROAD, N. 
1911. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

PREFACE . . . . . v 



CHAPTER I 
EARLY YEARS . . . . .1 

CHAPTER II 

BETROTHAL, BEREAVEMENT, AND DESIGNATION 

TO THE CAMEROONS . . . .19 

CHAPTER 111 

VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, AND A SURFEIT 

OF ADVENTURES. 1884 . . .39 

CHAPTER IV 
ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES. 1885 64 



x CONTENTS 

CHAPTER V 

PAGK 

RETURN, MARRIAGE, AND JOURNEY TO CONGO. 

1885-1887 82 



CHAPTER V[ 
FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR. 1887-1890 . 102 



CHAPTER VI I 
SECOND TERM AT SAN SALVADOR . 128 



CHAPTER VI II 
SECOND TERM AT SAN SALVADOR (continued) . 145 



CHAPTER IX 

THE BUILDING OF THE NEW CHAPEL AT SAN 

SALVADOR, AND OTHER MATTERS . . 165 



CHAPTER X 

THE OPENING OF THE NEW CHAPEL AT SAN 

SALVADOR. SEPTEMBER, 1899 . . 184 



CONTENTS xi 

CHAPTER XI 

PAGE 

PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : PERILS AND PROVI 
DENCES. 1898-1899 , . . .198 



CHAPTER XII 
LIFE AT KIBOKOLO .... 227 



CHAPTER XIII 
LIFE AT KIBOKOLO (continued) . . 247 



CHAPTER XIV 
A MISSION OF MERCY . . .271 



CHAPTER XV 
LAST FURLOUGH . . . .281 



CHAPTER XVI 
SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE . . 299 



xii CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XVII 

PAGE 

THE FIRST SESSION AND THE LAST VOYAGE. 

1909 . 312 



CHAPTER XVIII 

CHARACTERISTICS ..... 333 

APPENDIX ...... 343 

INDEX . 348 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



MRS. LEWIS. PORTRAIT . . . Frontispiece 

LINE MAP OF AFRICA SPECIALLY INDICATING CAM- 
EROONS AND CONGO ..... XVi 

PAGK 

CAMDEN ROAD BAPTIST CHURCH, LONDON . . 12 

PORTRAITS : MR. GEORGE THOMAS, MRS. THOMAS, 

Miss THOMAS, AND REV. THOMAS LEWIS . . 52 

CHIEF Noso AND PART OF HIS FAMILY . . . 122 

BWINGIDI (EVANGELIST S WIFE) AND GIRLS SCHOOL 
AT NKABA, AN OUT-STATION NEAR SAN SALVADOR 140 

SAN SALVADOR : RUINS OK ANCIENT PORTUGUESE 
CATHEDRAL ...... 170 

SAN SALVADOR. OLD SCHOOL-CHAPEL . . . 188 

SAN SALVADOR. NEW CHAPEL . . . .188 

PERRY OVER NKISI RIVER. MRS. LEWIS IN CANOE . 224 

HOME OF MR. AND MRS. LEWIS AT COMBER MEMORIAL 
STATION, KIBOKOLO (1903) . . .224 

ziii 



xiv ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

THE DISPENSARY AT KIBOKOLO. MBS. LEWIS STANDING 
IN DOORWAY . 

BRIDGE OVER LUSENGELE STREAM, NEAR COMBER 
STATION, KIBOKOLO . 260 

GRASS HOUSE AT KIMPESE IN WHICH MR. AND MRS. 
LEWIS LIVED DURING CONSTRUCTION OF PERMA 
NENT BUILDINGS (1908) 302 

KIMPESE: KONGO TRAINING INSTITUTION. PART OF 
STUDENTS QUARTERS .... 

KIMPESE : KONGO TRAINING INSTITUTION. THE REV. 
THOMAS LEWIS (PRINCIPAL), MRS. LEWIS, THE 
REV. S.B. MooN(A.B.M.U., TUTOR), AND STUDENTS 
(1909) . . , 324 



WEST CENTRAL AFRICA showing KAMERUN (CAMEROON*) ancS 
THE LOWER and MIDDLE CONGO 



.. . M/I DlX^L E ^ 

a 

MB 



rc1^\ i *^^ 




Baptist Missionary Society s Stations thus K.S 



CHAPTER I 

EARLY YEARS 

WEN ELEN THOMAS was born in London, 
and resided in the metropolis until the 
call of Africa drew her across the sea. She never 
lived in Wales, save during brief holiday visits, 
yet the Principality had its rights in her character 
and career, and a cherished place in her natural 
affection. Her father was a Welshman, and her 
husband was a Welshman. All her life long the 
beauty of the western hills glimmered through 
the dear home talk ; she was passing happy in 
her occasional holiday sojourns among them ; and 
often, when spent by labour in the torrid heat of 
Africa, longed for wings which might bear her 
away to some bracing mountain height in Wales. 
Her father, George Thomas, was born at Maent- 
wrog, to fair-seeming prospects ; but his sky was 
soon overclouded by dire bereavement, and his 
life was much acquainted with adversity and dis 
appointment. His father, Griffith Thomas of 
Maentwrog, early held a good position as " Crown 
Agent for the Woods and Forests of North Wales," 
and married a woman whom he loved with intense 
devotion. Several children were born of the mar- 

Englishwoman in Africa. 2 1 



2 EARLY YEARS 

riage, but at the birth of the youngest the 
mother died. Two years later her husband was 
laid beside her in the grave. It was commonly 
affirmed that the death of his wife shattered him, 
and that he died of a broken heart. 

The heads of this plaintive little story are 
inscribed, with customary brevity, upon a tomb 
stone in the graveyard of the church at 
Maentwrog, and read as follows : 

"To the memory of Jane, wife of Griffith 
Thomas of Maentwrog, Gent. She departed this 
life on the 21st day of September, 1811, aged 37 
years. Also of the above-named Griffith Thomas, 
died on the 10th day of September, 1813, aged 
34 years." 

The young orphaned children were taken charge 
of by relatives, and George was brought up by 
his grandmother. 

At the age of eighteen, or thereabouts, he came 
to London to seek his fortune, and obtained a 
position in Finchams Tea Warehouse at Charing 
Cross. Some years later he met a young lady, 
Anne Clarke, at an evening party and resolved, 
precipitately, that if he ever married, she should 
be his wife. His affection was subjected to the 
test of time. Three years elapsed before he 
secured an engagement, and four more ere he 
carried off his bride. 

Anne Clarke was the daughter of George Rix 
Clarke, a Suffolk man, who wrote a history of 
Ipswich, which is still esteemed by antiquarians 
and topographers. In middle life he married a 
Scottish girl of seventeen, and Anne, their first 
child, was born at her mother s home in Edin- 



EARLY YEARS 3 

burgh. The china bowl used at her christening 
is a treasured possession of the family. 

Four children were born to George and Anne 
Thomas, of whom Gwen Elen was the third. 
At the date of her birth, January 28, 1853, her 
parents were residing at Albion Grove, Barns- 
bury, in comfortable circumstances. They had 
previously become associated with the Baptist 
Church worshipping at Providence Hall (now 
Cross Street), Islington, under the pastorate of 
the Rev. John Jenkyn Brown, who was subse 
quently well known to the Nonconformist world 
as "John Jenkyn Brown of Birmingham," and 
who in 1882 was President of the Baptist Union 
of Great Britain and Ireland. Mrs. Thomas was 
received into the fellowship of the Church at 
Islington. Her husband, though a man of pro 
nounced evangelical conviction, was restrained 
by invincible compunction from ever assuming 
the responsibility of Church membership. None 
the less, a warm friendship subsisted between 
him and his minister, which was maintained 
through all the changes of following life. 
When he died, his daughter, Gwen Elen, looked to 
Mr. Brown with filial affection which was warmly 
answered, and it is significant that upon the occa 
sion of her marriage, he came from Birmingham 
to London to fulfil the paternal office of giving the 
bride away. 

While Gwen Elen was still in early childhood the 
family fortunes sustained a severe reverse. Her 
father, who was in business as a Scotch agent, was 
the victim of a fraudulent transaction, and the 
loss entailed was so heavy that his business was 



4 EARLY YEARS 

ruined. There followed years of struggle and 
vicissitude. During part of this period the family 
resided at Fulham, but before Gwen had emerged 
from childhood, they returned to the north of 
London and became connected with the Baptist 
Church at Camden Road. 

One suggestive glimpse of her child-life comes 
down to us. Gwen and her younger brother 
Herbert, who were great chums, used to sit to 
gether, under the dining-room table, reading stories 
of Moffat and Livingstone. Years afterwards, 
when they were both still quite young, and the mis 
sionary interest at Camden Road Church had 
become acute, Herbert said one day to his sister, 
touched surely by the spirit of prophecy : " Gwen, 
you had better marry one of these missionaries, 
and I will come out and be your lay-helper." The 
forecast was only realised in part. Gwen did 
marry a missionary, but before that came to pass, 
at the early age of nineteen, Herbert died. 

In these days the Church at Camden Road was a 
strong and flourishing community, and by way of 
becoming yet wealthier and more influential. The 
sanctuary was erected in 1854 by the Metropolitan 
Chapel Building Association, and at first stood in 
the fields. But the tide of building soon swept 
beyond it, and the surrounding district became the 
kind of suburb in which a Nonconformist Church 
enjoys conditions favourable to success. In 1857 
the congregation invited the Rev. Francis Tucker, 
B.A., of Union Chapel, Manchester, to become its 
minister. He accepted the invitation, formed a 
Church, and commenced a period of service, 
honourably and successfully maintained for twenty- 



EARLY YEARS 5 

seven years. Mr. Tucker was a man of winning 
personality and sympathetic manners. As a 
preacher he possessed commanding advantages ; his 
musical voice was managed with consummate skill ; 
he was master of refined, poetic diction, was gifted 
with imagination, and swayed withal by fervent 
evangelical conviction. Moreover, having held for 
a short period a missionary pastorate in Calcutta, 
his interest in the foreign work of the Church was 
enlightened and intense. 

As a child Gweii Thomas passed under the in 
fluence of this estimable man, an influence which 
waxed but never waned until the day of his 
death. It is touching to recall that upon one 
occasion when she was recovering from a severe 
attack of fever at the Cameroons, and tormented 
by insomnia, her restless mind was haunted by 
the thought that if only Mr. Tucker could come 
and read to her she would be hushed to sleep. 

While yet a girl her heart was given to Christ, 
in surrender which knew no recall, and at the 
age of eighteen she was baptized by her beloved 
minister and welcomed into the fellowship of the 
Church. It was at this time, or perhaps a little 
earlier, that she became a teacher in the Sunday 
School, which she had attended as a scholar for 
several years. Owing to circumstances, her 
secular schooling had been somewhat irregular, 
but she was fortunate in its finishing stage. It 
was the day of " Private Schools for Young 
Ladies," now almost obsolete, and one of the best 
establishments of this order was conducted in 
Hilldrop Road by the Misses Hewitt. The school 
was distant from Camden Road Church less than 



6 EARLY YEARS 

a hundred yards, the principals were members 
of the Church, and were women of high cha 
racter and adequate attainments. Their school 
was held in great repute in the district, and their 
influence was a social factor of happy moment. 
That the Misses Hewitt were able to command 
the esteem and affection of their pupils is 
pleasantly evidenced by the fact that, though 
the school has been discontinued for years, " The 
Hilldrop Old Girls Club" still exists, and it will 
interest readers of this book to be informed that 
the last annual issue of The Hilldrop Maga 
zine, the organ of the club, contained an " In 
Memoriam " article on Gwen Elen Lewis. To the 
pages of this magazine she was an occasional 
contributor. 

At the age of nearly sixteen she entered the 
Hilldrop school, and for about a year enjoyed 
advantages which greatly improved her equip 
ment for the battle of life. Like many of her 
fellow pupils, she became warmly attached to her 
teachers, and the ensuing friendship was only 
broken by her death. I am happily indebted to 
Miss Amy Hewitt for the following paragraphs. 
Confessedly unable to supply incidents, Miss 
Hewitt has conveyed impressions which are as 
vivid as they are helpful : 

" It is many years since she was a school girl, 
and the lapse of time has naturally robbed my 
memory of all but the most startling individual 
happenings in our professional experience. More 
over, Mrs. Lewis was not the sort of girl to make 
dramatic school history. High souled, law abiding, 
and very conscientious, loving knowledge for its 



EARLY YEARS 7 

own sake, and eager to make the most of her 
advantages, she was an ideal scholar. 

"Coming into an atmosphere thoroughly con 
genial to her temperament, she settled happily 
at once, and though she has since said that the 
influence of the few months spent as a daily pupil 
at Hilldrop Road was amongst the most perma 
nently formative of her life, there was nothing 
at the time to distinguish her from a set of like- 
minded young girls who were her companions, 
and some of whom became her life-long friends. 

" Though I have no definite facts to communicate, 
my impressions of her personality and character 
remain undimmed. I remember that as Gwen 
Elen Thomas she entered our school on October 12, 
1868, a short, plump, fair, blue-eyed girl of sixteen, 
whose slight guttural accent, even without the 
additional hint of her Welsh name, would have 
suggested her nationality. Her bearing was self- 
contained but alert. She was there her individu 
ality well developed ; and she was there, with 
all her faculties alive to receive and to give out 
influence. That was the first superficial im 
pression. 

" Later on we became familiar with, and learned 
to love, the serious, intent face, the steady pene 
trating glance, and the quick sense of humour, 
which on the slightest provocation lighted up her 
countenance with fun, and moved her to hearty 
laughter. She was keenly interested in her 
studies and brought to bear on them strong 
intelligence and powers unusually mature for 
her age. 

" Monsieur de Lamartiniere was at that time our 



8 EARLY YEARS 

French master, and Gwen Elen greatly delighted 
in his lessons. She had been thoroughly well 
grounded in the language, and so was prepared to 
profit by advanced lessons ; and she made very 
rapid progress. 

" Gifted and eager, she never seemed to find any 
subject dull or distasteful, but, as was natural 
to one of her sympathetic and deeply religious 
character, History, Literature, and Scripture par 
ticularly, attracted her and brought her original 
mind into play. 

"The splendid endowments of heart and head 
which made her so good a pupil were given un 
stintedly to her missionary work, and it was with 
great delight that we heard from time to time 
of her wonderful success in Africa." 

One of her fellow scholars at the Hilldrop 
School was Emily Smith, daughter of Mr. Jonas 
Smith, a deacon of Camden Road Church, and 
between these two girls there grew up a warm 
and helpful friendship. They prepared their 
lessons together, and entered with girlish ardour 
into each other s interests. In course of time 
Gwen Thomas became a frequent visitor at her 
friend s home. And that it was a genial, hospit 
able home, there are not a few who could bear 
grateful witness. When her own mother died, 
the Smiths loved her the more for her sorrow, 
and for the filial devotion she had displayed ; and 
how the friendship was maintained, and how 
Annie Smith a younger daughter followed her 
into the mission-field, will appear as this story 
proceeds. 



EARLY YEARS 9 

And now something must be said of a man 
whose influence upon the life of Miss Thomas was 
not less than that of her minister, though he was 
her senior by a few months only. Thomas J. 
Comber was a member of the Baptist Church at 
Denmark Place, Camberwell, of which Dr. Charles 
Stanford, of gracious memory, was the gifted 
honoured minister. The love of Christ and the 
passionate desire to be a missionary of the Cross 
came to Comber in his early youth. While yet 
a lad, he became a Sunday-school teacher at 
Denmark Place, and was barely nineteen when he 
entered Regent s Park College to gain equipment 
for his ordained career. 

It is more than a convenient Sabbath day s 
journey from Regent s Park to Denmark Place, 
and so it fell out that in his student days Comber 
became a frequent worshipper at Camden Road. 
He loved children, was keen for any kind of 
Christian service, and soon found an opening in 
the Sunday morning infant class. It occurs to 
me to remark, in passing, that he is the only 
theological student of my remembrance who ever 
found himself effectually called to this modest 
sphere of labour. And I am tempted to add that 
if there be aught of disparagement in this re 
flection, it is not of the sphere. 

His increasing interest in Camden Road Sunday 
School, and his zeal for the spiritual welfare 
of the scholars, led him to request permission 
to conduct a week-evening children s service. 
Camden Road Church has always been reasonably 
conservative, and the proposed innovation was 
not acceded to without demur. But Comber, 



10 EARLY YEARS 

thus early, was not a man to be deterred from 
treading any path which seemed to him the path 
of duty, because certain excellent people might be 
in doubt of its expediency. Hesitating, dubious 
folk are apt to draw aside when one appears who 
will not be denied, and Comber had his way. 
The service was instituted, and spiritual forces 
generated by its means are working to-day. 

The early hour of the children s meeting made 
it difficult for young men to attend, and Comber s 
helpers were at first exclusively drawn from the 
teachers on the girls side of the school ; and now 
and then he was twitted by the remark that all 
his lieutenants were girls. But he was too much 
in earnest to be perturbed by a gentle gibe, and 
in the course of a few years the pleasantry would 
seem a feeble thing, in relation to a man who had 
proved himself, under heroic conditions, to be a 
resolute, virile, and resourceful leader of men. 

Meanwhile if his lieutenants were girls they 
were of the right mettle, believed in him im 
plicitly, admired him profoundly, backed him 
bravely in his Christian endeavours, and were 
destined to remain his warm friends as long as he 
lived. Gwen Elen Thomas was one of them, and 
among others associated with her in this service 
were Miss Emily Smith, Miss Rosa Nodes, who 
played the harmonium, and Miss Emily Pewtress, 
daughter of Mr. Stephen Pewtress, deacon and 
secretary of the Church. 

Comber believed profoundly in child conversion. 
He set himself to bring about early and intelligent 
decision for Christ, and his purpose was honoured 
of God. There were many such decisions, and in 



EARLY YEARS 11 

course of time there was a goodly list of 
children who simply but credibly affirmed their 
personal faith in Christ. These Comber wisely 
accounted babes in Christ, who needed nursing, 
and as many of them were girls, some, fourteen 
or fifteen years of age, he concluded that their 
own teachers were fitter for the business than 
himself. So he called his four lieutenants together 
and informed them that these young converts 
must be divided up into classes, of which they 
must take charge. In the course of his instruc 
tions concerning procedure, he said that each 
little meeting must be commenced with prayer. 
They were dismayed. No one of them had ever 
engaged in prayer with a human audience ; the 
thing could not be done. Practical and gently 
autocratic, he bade them meet together and make 
their first attempts among themselves. They 
were obedient, and the work went on according 
to the leader s plans. 

Though Comber did very well with his young 
women helpers, it was all joy to him when one 
of the teachers from the other side of the school 
joined him, and shared his labours in the conduct 
of the services. Of John Hartland, now entering 
the story of Miss Thomas s life, much will be 
written in the next chapter. Suffice it to say at 
this point that he stood beside Comber in his 
work among the children at Camden Road, con 
ducted it after Comber had sailed for the Came- 
roons, joined him later on the Congo, and died 
in his arms, having won from him a love as deep 
and tender as that he gave him. 

Comber now had a man lieutenant, and had 



12 EARLY YEARS 

need of him. For though the majority of his 
weekly audience may have been girls, there were 
always boys present, and of the importance of his 
work among the boys the following letter from 
Mr. S. Leslie Pewtress yields convincing and 
beautiful evidence : 

"My remembrances of these services for children 
conducted by Mr. Comber at Camden Road are 
very hallowed ones. I was quite a lad, but can 
distinctly recollect how the talk in our home ran 
that he was a very brave young student to attempt 
them, and very persevering to get permission to 
hold them, in spite of much opposition and cold 
water. 

" There was no Band of Hope then. For 
children there were occasional magic lanterns, 
annual Sunday-school meetings, and a composi 
tion and an elocution class for young fellows 
also a singing class. But Mr. Comber s meetings 
were so different from all these. I felt as I 
entered the room that there was a holy purpose 
in it all. Coming, as Mr. Comber did, from 
outside, having no relatives or friends in the 
place, he seemed to me a direct messenger from 
God. I had a strange awe of him that he dared 
speak as he did, and yet I rejoiced that he could. 
I wish I could recall the hymns we sang. They 
seemed very special at the time I know. 

" Mr. Comber made a practice of standing at 
the door and saying goodbye to us as we went 
out. I tried to avoid him if I could, and being 
one of the bigger lads he let me pass many times. 
One night, however, he took my hand somewhat 
diffidently, and as he said good-night, added, Do 




CA\ll)I-:\ KOAI) MAI TIST OHKCH, LONDON. 
(.I hoto: K. Thurstoii, K.K.I .S., I.uton.) 



EARLY YEARS 13 

you love the Lord Jesus ? I was quite dumb 
with emotion. I can feel the appealing look with 
which I lifted my eyes to his face and met his 
kindly loving eyes, even now. Then I broke away 
and hurried home to my bedside, where, on my 
knees, the tears streaming down my cheeks, and 
in utter silence, my heart poured itself out to 
God in longing desire to be a better boy. It was 
my first conversion, the first yielding of heart 
and will to God I ever made. 

" Mr. Comber never knew. He said no word to 
me at later meetings. What he thought of my 
rudeness and coldness I do not know. I fear I 
hurt him a little, but he never resented it. His 
later work, especially as a missionary, was always 
shaming me to myself, while he has always been 
to me the ideal Christian young man, and hero. 
But when I look at his photograph it is always 
to the children s services that my thoughts are 
carried back." 

The writer of this letter, who, to my personal 
knowledge, has been for five-and- twenty years a 
cultured, devoted, and successful Christian worker 
among children and young people, would probably 
be in agreement with one of Comber s four helpers, 
already named, who recently told me that he was 
unquestionably one of the strongest personal, 
spiritual forces she had ever encountered in a 
lifetime of Christian service. 

That this man exercised a formative and domi 
nant influence upon the life of Miss Thomas, 
during the years of their association, is a state 
ment that needs no other proof than that afforded 
by the facts, that she began her missionary career 



14 EARLY YEARS 

in his tracks upon the Cameroons ; spent three-and- 
twenty years of her life in the great Congo field, 
which he and Grenfell opened up for the Baptist 
Mission ; and, as long as she lived, continued to 
speak of him with reverent affection. 

In certain regards Comber and Miss Thomas 
were greatly unlike in temperament, yet had 
they much in common of gravest moment. The 
love of Christ was the grand passion of both their 
lives. They were both endowed with indomitable 
will and the consequent capacity for sustained 
industry. They both loved and understood chil 
dren, possessed the saving grace of humour, and, 
devoutness notwithstanding, took innocent and 
wholesome delight in fun. 

I met Comber several times during his last 
furlough, but my visual remembrances of him are 
restricted to two living pictures, typical and con 
trasting, which I will endeavour to call up before 
the mind of the reader. A children s party is in 
course at the house of Mr. Jonas Smith. The 
company is gathered in the drawing-room, and 
consists of twenty or thirty children of varying 
ages, with a sprinkling of benevolent elders. 
Comber is at the piano, singing, to his own 
accompaniment, a humorous song. The accom 
paniment is mimetic as well as musical. Every 
feature of his mobile face, roguishly turned to his 
audience, and every muscle of his lissom body, 
seem to move in concert with the fun. When it 
is over and he is about to leave the instrument, he 
is stormed by overwhelming numbers, held to his 
place, and coaxed and coerced into singing again. 
Three months later I find myself sitting in the 



EARLY YEARS 15 

area of Exeter Hall. This time it is not a 
children s party which is in course, but the Annual 
Meeting of the Baptist Missionary Society. The 
Hall is crowded in every part, and in the middle of 
the platform stands a young man, with a keen, 
clean-shaven, boyish-looking face. The great 
hushed throng is mastered by the speaker, who is 
none other than the singer of the laughing song. 
He does the storming this time, and he has his 
way with the hearts of his audience. There 
have been heavy losses on the Congo. Counsels 
of retreat have been urged. What has Thomas 
Comber to say about it? He has the right to 
speak. He is a lonely man. His young bride has 
lain for years in a Congo grave, and the Congo 
grave of his brother, Dr. Sidney Comber, is newly 
made. Yes, surely he has the right to speak ! 
What has he to say ? Even now after four-and- 
twenty years I can see the flame of passion 
kindling in his face as he pleads that he and his 
brethren may be spared the shame, and the cause 
of Christ the wrong, which would be involved 
in retreat. Would they bid Grenfell back, whose 
exploits he praises and whose gallant words he 
quotes ? It is unthinkable. That speech made 
history. Counsels of retreat died into silence. 
" Forward," not " Backward," became the order of 
the day. 

Such are my two distinct remembrances of the 
man, whom the children at Camden Road loved as 
a teacher, admired as a hero, and romped with as 
a playmate ; whom the Congo natives, when they 
came to know him, regarded as a miracle of love 
and power ; and whom his comrades followed as 



16 EARLY YEARS 

a captain whose belt has been buckled by the 
fingers of Almighty God. 



During the years of Comber s memorable service 
at Camden Road, Miss Thomas lived at home with 
her parents. Her mother was a woman of gentle, 
retiring disposition, who permitted herself to be 
absorbed by domestic interests, and was remark 
able for an inexhaustible patience, which her 
daughter Gwen inherited, to the great advantage 
of her own soul, her comrades, and her work. 
Mr. Thomas was a man of keen intellect and 
independent outlook, who was wont to talk freely 
with his children about books and men and move 
ments of the day, and whose conversation was 
an educative influence of major importance. 

On Christmas Eve, 1876, Miss Thomas sustained 
one of the great bereavements of her life, in the 
passing away of her mother, long an invalid, 
to whom her filial attention had been unre 
mitting. Three months earlier, in September of 
the same year, she, with many others, had said 
"goodbye" to Thomas Comber, who sailed for 
the Cameroons. The Children s Service Valedic 
tory Meeting at Camden Road was at once sorrow 
ful and enthusiastic. The young folk were grieved 
to lose their leader, but loyal enough to be glad 
that he was going to the great work marked 
out for him by God. A testimonial address, 
headed "Mizpah," was presented to him by John 
Hartland, in the name of the children who had 
signed it, together with a magic lantern, for 
which they had subscribed ; and promising faith- 



EARLY YEARS 17 

ful, affectionate, and prayerful remembrance, Com 
ber passed on his way. 

Of course, he continued to correspond with his 
young friends, and by way of augmenting their 
interest in his work, suggested that they should 
support a mission boy. The suggestion was 
adopted, and a scholars working meeting was 
instituted by Miss Gwen Thomas and Miss Emily 
Smith, to raise the necessary funds. It was a 
modest enterprise at the beginning. The first 
sale was held in a corner of the schoolroom, with 
goods displayed upon a single table. Later a 
second corner was annexed, and a second table 
furnished. Later still Mrs. Jonas Smith took 
practical interest in the undertaking, a " Ladies 
Missionary Working Party " was formed, and so 
on, until the whole Church became involved in the 
business of "The Camden Road Congo Sale," 
which at one period ranked as a Denominational 
Institution. 

The Annual Sale is still maintained, though in 
modified form, and in the course of its history 
has contributed to the funds of the B.M.S. some 
3,000, more or less. Mrs. Lewis loved "The 
Congo Sale," was often occupied with its business 
when on furlough, had the honour of opening 
it more than once, when the opening had become 
a function, and talked of it when she lay a-dying. 

Miss Alice Hartland remembers that at the 
early working meeting Miss Thomas used to read 
to the children as they sat sewing, " The Life of 
Robert Moffat." Naturally Robert Moffat was 
one of her heroes, and many years later she wrote, 
in a passage which I propose to quote, that 

Englishwoman in Africa. 3 



18 EARLY YEARS 

Mrs. Moffat was her ideal of what a missionary s 
wife should be. Happily, by the grace of God, 
she lived to realise her ideal, in marked degree, 
and to create a new one for others who may 
follow in her steps. 

One pathetic family incident relates itself to 
this children s working meeting shortly after its 
inception. In 1868 Miss Thomas s elder sister, 
Eliza Jane, was married to Dr. Richard Percival, 
and some three years later accompanied him to 
St. Lucia, West Indies, where he had secured a 
medical appointment. His health failed, and after 
a short stay he was compelled to return. There 
were three children of the marriage, Ethel, Eva, 
and Beatrice, whose names will often appear in 
this book. But their father s health was never 
strong, and in 1877 he was lying ill at St. 
Leonards. Two of the children were staying 
with their Aunt Gwen, and on Saturday after 
noon were taken by her to the Working Meeting. 
While engaged in the meeting she received a 
telegram bidding her bring the little ones to the 
bedside of their dying father. They were taken 
immediately, and shortly afterwards he passed 
away. 



CHAPTER II 

BETROTHAL, BEREAVEMENT, AND DESIGNATION TO 
THE CAMEROONS 



OMBER began his missionary life at Victoria, 
the colony founded by Alfred Saker as the 
new home of the little Protestant community, 
driven from Fernando Po by the intolerance of 
the Roman Catholic authorities. Victoria was 
situated on the shore of Ambas Bay, and at 
the foot of the Cameroons Mountain, which 
Comber climbed one day, finding at the top the 
bottle left there by Captain Burton, an exploit 
which led to a pleasant interchange of compli 
ments at a meeting of the Royal Geographical 
Society in London. 

Not long after his arrival Comber was left in 
sole charge of the station, and threw himself into 
the work with characteristic zeal. Grenfell, mean 
while, was working at Bethel station on the 
Cameroons river. Subsequently the two were 
thrown much together and formed a friendship 
which was of happiest omen for the cause of 
Christianity in Central Africa. Both of them 
turned with longing eyes to the interior, yearning 
for work among heathen tribes whose original 



19 



20 BETROTHAL, BEREAVEMENT, AND 

depravity had not been complicated and deepened 
by imported European evils. But their dreams 
of local extension were broken by the call to the 
Congo. 

Stanley s historic journey " Through the Dark 
Continent," in the course of which he proved that 
the Lualaba River and the Congo were one and 
the same stream, and the opportune munificence 
of Mr. Robert Arthington of Leeds, whose inspired 
guess had anticipated the explorer s discovery, 
made a new departure in the work of the Baptist 
Mission at once possible and obligatory. I have 
told the story of this new departure at some length 
in "The Life of George Grenfell," 1 and must here 
compass the matter in a few rapid sentences. 

The Committee of the B.M.S. realised that in 
Comber and Grenfell they had men who were 
providentially raised up, endowed, equipped, and 
placed, for the new enterprise. On January 5, 
1878, the young missionaries received the expected 
invitation to undertake a pioneering expedition 
in the Congo region. Their assent was instant 
and enthusiastic, and while awaiting final instruc 
tions they made a flying visit to the lower reach 
of the Congo, and laid some stepping-stones for 
future use. 

Encouraged by their reconnoitring experiences, 
they returned, completed their preparations, sailed 
from Camerooiis on June 28th, and early in August 
were in San Salvador, the capital of the ancient 
kingdom of Congo, making friends with the king. 
They felt their way a stage or two further on 

1 "The Life of George Grenfell, Congo Missionary and 
Explorer" (Religious Tract Society), p. 91 et seq. 



DESIGNATION TO THE CAMEROONS 21 

toward Stanley Pool, but encountering obstacles, 
realising the imperative need of reinforcements, 
and being profoundly convinced of the feasibility 
and the obligation of the new enterprise, they 
went back upon their tracks, Grenfell returning 
to the Cameroons, and Comber coming to London 
to tell his story and to ask for men. He got 
them in the persons of Holman Bentley, Harry 
Crudgington, and John Hartlaiid. 

Hartland had long cherished in his heart the 
desire to be a missionary, but the way had never 
opened for him to secure the college training 
which seemed to be necessary, and so his desire had 
remained his secret, discussed only with his sister. 
But Comber s appeal so stirred him that he could 
not restrain himself longer. On returning from 
a meeting of the Young Men s Missionary Society, 
held at the Mission House, he wrote to Comber 
in these terms : 

" I have longed, I have prayed to go, and have 
often cried, Here am I ; send Me ; but I have 
never yet felt that He was sending me, and I 
dare not go alone. But to-night you said you 
wanted to take back with you to Africa one or 
two men at once. The preparation for mission 
work was always my obstacle, but if the men 
you need are men ready to dedicate themselves, 
as they are, and at once to the Lord s service 
if the only preparation needed is the preparation 
of the Holy Spirit ; if the wisdom needed is that 
wisdom promised to those who ask ; if the suffi 
ciency is not a college education, but the sufficiency 
which is of God I cannot, I dare not hold back. 
. . . My mind is fully made up, that if you will 



22 BETROTHAL, BEREAVEMENT, AND 

accept me (and you know what I am, I have no 
need to introduce myself to you), as a fellow- 
helper in the Lord s work, and if the Society will 
take me as one of their workers, I am ready this 
day to consecrate myself to the Lord." 

Comber s joyous answer was : " Apply at once." 
The application was duly made and accepted, 
and on April 26, 1879, John Hartland, to his 
heart s desire sailed with Comber, Bentley, and 
Crudgington for the Congo. He was known at 
Camden Road, as a quiet, rather nervous, good 
young man, and probably none, save two or three 
who knew him best, supposed that he had in 
him the making of a capable, heroic, missionary 
pioneer. But he had. And in quiet station work 
at San Salvador, in adventurous journeys in which 
he shared attempts to find a practicable way to 
Stanley Pool, and in the heavy subsequent labour 
of establishing a line of communications for the 
traffic of the mission, and especially for the 
transport of the steamer Peace, he exhibited 
readiness of hand, resource of brain, and devotion 
of spirit, which elicited the unstinted admiration 
and affection of his colleagues. That he could 
write vividly is sufficiently proved by the follow 
ing extract from a long and profoundly interesting 
letter wherein he tells of an experience which 
almost made an end of Comber s career and his 
own : 

"We walked into the town (Banza Makuta) 
and asked the people its name, but got no 
answer. They drew back a little, and then one 
man called out, " Nda bongo nkeli, vonda mindeli ! " 
(" Fetch the guns ; kill the white men ! ") and in 



DESIGNATION TO THE CAMEROONS 23 

an instant they rushed away returning immedi 
ately armed with great sticks, huge pieces of 
stone, knives, cutlasses, and guns, and without 
any word of palaver, commenced dancing and 
leaping round us, and brandishing their weapons. 
Mr. Comber sat down by a house, and I was 
about to do the same, but our assailants yelled 
out, "Get up, get up," and rushed upon us. Such 
fiendish, blood-thirsty, cruel countenances I never 
saw. We got up and called to them to stop, 
that we would go back, but it was no good, and 
stones came flying towards us, and sticks and 
knives were brandished around us. We could 
see the people were determined, not only to drive 
us from the town, but to have our lives, so there 
was nothing left for us to do but to attempt flight, 
though it seemed hopeless. Away we started, 
amid stones and blows. We all got hit and 
bruised, but managed to reach the top of the 
steep hill, when a sudden report rang out behind 
us, above the uproar, and Mr. Comber, who was 
in front of me, fell. I dashed up to him and 
tried to assist him to rise, but he said, " It s no 
use, John ; I m hit, you go on." 

How Comber got up again, overtook Hartland 
and Cam, and ran with them for many miles 
with a jagged ironstone bullet embedded in the 
muscles of his back ; and how ultimately they 
all three reached a friendly town and were safe, 
is familiar history. 

Possibly the reader may be wondering by this 
time whether, carried away by interest in John 
Hartland and the Congo Mission, I have forgotten 
Miss Thomas and my proper business. I hope 



24 BETROTHAL, BEREAVEMENT, AND 

the next paragraph may afford adequate proof 
that this is not the case. 

Early in 1882 Mrs. Seymour, who as Miss Nodes 
had been closely associated with John Hartland 
in the children s work at Camden Road, and whose 
husband was his friend, received from him a 
most interesting and momentous letter. In it he 
confessed that before leaving for the Congo he 
had conceived a strong affection for Miss Gwen 
Thomas, and the hope that one day he might 
have the happiness of securing her as his wife. 
Foreseeing that he might not be able to endure 
the Congo climate, he determined to keep his love 
and his hope secret, and had sailed without giving 
word or sign. At least he had done his best in 
the matter of concealment. But now that he had 
become acclimatised, and good prospect of life 
and work was before him, he was minded to put 
his fate to the test, and he desired Mrs. Seymour 
to broach the subject for him. On one condition ! 
He conceived it possible that during his absence 
Miss Thomas s interest and affection might have 
been engaged by some other man. If Mrs. Sey 
mour had reason to suppose that such was the 
case, then he would have her burn his letter, and 
keep his secret, as he was sure that if Miss Thomas 
knew she had been the innocent occasion of suf 
fering to him, she herself would suffer, and that 
purposeless suffering he would have her spared. 
But if the way seemed clear, he desired a friend s 
most friendly mediation. He enclosed a letter 
addressed to his sister. If all went well with his 
indirect wooing, he desired Mrs. Seymour to hand 
this letter to Miss Hartland that his friends at 



DESIGNATION TO THE CAMEROONS 25 

home might have the earliest possible intimation 
of his joy. But if things went awry, he would 
have the letter destroyed, that they might not 
know that with other burdens he carried the 
grievous addition of an unrequited love. 

It was obviously the letter of a courteous, 
Christian gentleman, and much impressed by its 
extreme chivalry, Mrs. Seymour proceeded to exe 
cute her difficult commission. But finding that 
the negotiation was not to be precisely a matter 
of plain sailing, with sound, womanly wisdom she 
made haste to convey to her correspondent the 
time-honoured counsel, " Speak for yourself, John." 

John spoke for himself, on such wise that ob 
stacles were removed, hesitations overcome, and 
in due course he received the word of assent which 
his heart coveted. But he had to wait for it, 
with what patience he could muster, through 
several weary months. The following letter will 
say much to the discerning reader and spare me 
pages of laboured exposition : 

" ST. MARGAEKT S," HAMPSTEAD HEATH. 

" July 5, 1882. 

" MY DEAR MRS. HARTLAND, -Thank you so much 
for your kind letter of this morning. I am so glad 
that our engagement is pleasing to you. I feel 
sure that it is the hand of God which has guided us 
both in this matter. My only regret is that dear 
John should have had such a weary waiting time. 
But I try to remember that he is in Our Father s 
care as well as I. I do most earnestly pray that I 
may be a help to him in the great and noble work 
he has undertaken : work in which I have so long 



26 BETROTHAL, BEREAVEMENT, AND 

wished to have a share, that I am almost afraid to 
realise that my heart s desire is about to be ful 
filled. I can only leave my joy where I have so 
often left my desires, at the feet of Him to whom 
all hearts are open, all desires known. I am 
hoping to go home on Saturday evening to spend 
the Sunday. If I am early enough I will try to 
look in on my way. If not, I shall be at chapel 
on Sunday morning and stay to communion there, 
when I shall hope to see some of you. I would 
propose coming down in the afternoon, but my 
own dear papa is so very unwell that I don t think 
I could leave. With best love to you all, 
" Believe me, 

" Yours affectionately, 

" GWEN ELEN THOMAS." 

" St. Margaret s, Hampstead Heath," from which 
this letter is dated, was the residence of Mr. and 
Mrs. May, in whose family Miss Thomas was acting 
as governess, having responsible charge of their 
young children. Her position was a singularly 
happy one. She was treated as a friend, and 
received the utmost Christian courtesy and kind 
ness, of which she often speaks in her letters, with 
expressions of warm gratitude. Mr. and Mrs. May 
used to spend the winter in Spain, and during their 
absence Miss Thomas had the care of their children 
at Ramsgate. Consequently her opportunities of 
seeing Mrs. Hartland were only occasional, but her 
letters were frequent and affectionate. It is mani 
fest that Mrs. Hartland had taken the woman of 
her son s choice into her heart, and that Miss 
Thomas gladly accepted the spiritual hospitality. 



DESIGNATION TO THE CAMEROONS 27 

She had kept John Hartland waiting a long 
time. A curious Nemesis ordained that she in 
her turn should be kept waiting. Having de 
spatched the letter which is to abolish his anxieties 
and fill his heart with rapture, she naturally yearns 
to have the record of the rapture before her in 
black and white. Of course, she must wait for 
the mails ; but the mails come and the record 
tarries. Shipwreck and minor mischances cause 
her hope to be deferred. Toward the end of 
September she writes plaintively to Miss Hartland : 
" It seems as if all this year has been taken up for 
me and John in waiting for letters." Meanwhile 
her spare time is not occupied in idle dreaming. 
She has taken up the study of Portuguese, and 
writes out her Sunday-school lessons, finding this 
a more fruitful means of studying the Bible than 
reading merely. Moreover she thinks her MSS. 
"may come in handy by-and-by." In October, 
by the irony of fate, she gets news of her sweet 
heart through other people s letters, and ruefully 
writes to Mrs. Hartland : " John seems to have 
written to every one by this mail except to Mrs. 
Seymour and to me " ; and goes on to say that 
she will be very glad when the suspense is over 
and she can look forward to getting her letters 
every month. The November mail brought peace. 

" 13, WELLINGTON CRESCENT, RAMSOATB. 

" November 19, 1882. 

"MY DEAREST MRS. HARTLAND, I must Write 

just a line or two to tell you I had my letter last 
night. Wasn t it nice ? On his birthday ! And 
so the long waiting time is over for both of us at 



28 BETROTHAL, BEREAVEMENT, AND 

last. I can hardly believe it. It is all so wonder 
ful, the way that the Lord has led us both. Poor 
dear old boy ! he has had a long, weary time 
altogether. But it is over at last, and, as he puts 
it, The joy of the present is all the sweeter for 
past sorrow. I suppose you have had a letter, 
for he tells me he is going to write to you. In 
mine he says it will be nearly another year, he fears, 
before he is home. My letter is dated September 
15th. I can t write about other things now. But I 
know you will rejoice with us both in our happi 
ness. With much love to all, 

" Believe me, dear Mrs. Hartland, 
" Yours affectionately, 
"GwEN ELEN THOMAS." 

At the end of November Messrs. Grenfell and 
Doke were on the point of sailing for the Congo, 
and Miss Thomas records her regret that she was 
unable to see them, but cherishes the hope of 
meeting them in Africa. Grenfell she met, though 
under other conditions than those she had fore 
cast ; but Doke had passed on. As the year waned 
her father s illness had caused her grave concern, 
but before it closed he was better. She records 
also with pleasure that she is wearing the ring 
which Mrs. Hartland had procured at her son s 
desire. 

The little spell of happy work and happy cor 
respondence to which she had looked forward 
was quickly troubled. Later deep called unto 
deep. In January her father died, at the age 
of seventy-three, and her natural sorrow was 
rendered more acute by the fact that he had 



DESIGNATION TO THE CAMEROONS 29 

been to her, as to his other children, a friend as 
well as a father, who desired and received not only 
their filial affection, but their understanding and 
sympathy in the intellectual interests of his life. 

Soon afterwards came news of the death of 
Mr. Doke, who had studied and practised engi 
neering, as well as theology, and had gone out to 
the Congo with Grenfell, specially to superintend 
the reconstruction of the steamer Peace. This sad 
event moved Miss Thomas deeply and touched 
her happy dreams with a shadow of new anxiety. 
Three months later the shadow suddenly black 
ened. 

On June 19th Mr. Brock called to inform her 
that the Baptist Missionary Committee had re 
ceived a letter from Grenfell stating that John 
Hartland was ailing, and that Grenfell hoped to 
send him home immediately, in which case he 
might be expected at the end of the month. At 
first she was naturally tempted to regard the 
news as good, giving promise of an early meeting 
with the man she loved. But reflection quickly 
taught her that Mr. Brock would not have been 
deputed by the Committee to bring her happy 
tidings, and she prepared herself for the disclosure 
of the fact, designedly withheld from her for the 
moment, that John Hartland s illness was very 
grave. For three weeks her heart was tense 
with anxiety, and she wrote to Mrs. Hartland 
frequently, sometimes day by day, pouring out 
her solicitude, her sympathy, the pain of her love 
and the comfort of her faith. 

On July 4th she wrote in a letter to Mrs. Hart- 
land : "I heard from Mr. Crudgington this 



30 BETROTHAL, BEREAVEMENT, AND 

morning, telling me of the answer he had re 
ceived. He seems to think it probable that our 
dear John will be on board the English mail, as 
it is so late. But I am trying not to count upon 
it too much." This was written in the morning. 
In the afternoon the following telegram was 
received at the Mission House : 

" Madeira, 1.55, July 4th. Received here 4.11 p.m. 
" Baynes, Baptist Missionary Society, London. 
" Hartland dead, dysentery. Break news gently. 

" DIXON (Congo)." 

In the evening Mr. Baynes broke the news to 
Mrs. Hartland, and his colleague, the Rev. J. B. 
Myers, to Miss Thomas. Mr. Myers has given me 
an account of the well-remembered interview. 
Upon receiving him Miss Thomas took her seat 
upon a couch. When he had communicated his 
heavy tidings her features became rigid, but she 
gave no other sign of emotion. He spoke gently, 
and prayed with her, " Yet she neither moved nor 
wept," and when he left her she remained silent 
and still as one in a trance. 

When the mail came it was pitiful to learn that 
the man she had loved had been lying in his 
grave five weeks before the first intimation of 
his illness had been received at home. Here I 
take leave to reproduce the brief account of John 
Hartland s death, given in " The Life of George 
Grenf ell " : 

" The timely arrival of Mr. Dixon at Underbill, 
and his willingness to take charge while Grenfell 
got away, made the desired journey possible. The 



DESIGNATION TO THE CAMEROONS 31 

run-up-country was a figure of speech, for he 
was so weak that he had to be carried in a 
hammock. 

"Prior to starting he had written cheerily of 
his hope of soon meeting his friend, John Hart- 
land, who, while willing to stay, was to be con 
strained to take furlough in July or August. This 
hope was fulfilled earlier than he had forecast, 
but under conditions which made the fulfilment 
a heart-breaking disappointment. 

" At Manyanga, in the middle of April, Hartland 
found himself so weakened by fever that he took 
boat and came down river to Bayneston, arriving 
on April 21st. Hughes, who was in charge of the 
station at Bayneston, overborne by the heavy 
nursing which Hartland s serious condition en 
tailed, wrote to Butcher, who was at the camp 
on the Luvu River, beseeching him to hurry on 
to Bayneston. With fever upon him, Butcher 
started immediately, and by dint of hard walking 
arrived at Bayneston the next day, having pre 
viously despatched a message to Grenfell, who 
had left Underbill on the 27th. The message 
reached him on the second day of his journey, 
and though ill himself, he pushed on with forced 
marches arriving at Bayneston on May 1st. It was 
at once apparent to him that Hartland, whom 
Hughes and Butcher had carefully nursed through 
ten days of the severest form of dysentery, was 
in a dangerous condition. But abatement of the 
worst symptoms gave hope, which again was 
subdued to fear. 

" After further fluctuations, hope was aban 
doned on May 10th, and it was Grenfell s duty to 



32 BETROTHAL, BEREAVEMENT, AND 

inform his friend that his day s work was done. 
I shan t easily forget, he writes, his look, as he 
gazed at us and said, Well, I am not afraid to 
die. My trust is in Jesus. Whosoever believeth 
in Him hath everlasting life ! A little while later 
he said, After four years preparation, and just 
as I am about to enter upon mission work proper, 
it seems strange for me to realise that my work 
is done: but He knows best. 

" On the evening of the same day Comber 
arrived unexpectedly, and most opportunely, for 
the affection of these two men for one another 
was intense. They had worked together in the 
home country, they had shared early perils, and 
were absolutely one in their devotion to Christ 
and His work in Africa. Their intercourse during 
the two remaining days of Hartland s life was 
very tender and sacred, and the letter which 
Comber wrote to Mrs. Hartland is one of the 
most beautiful and touching of all our missionary 
records. It reveals how the dying man s gaze 
was absorbed by Christ ; how he turned from 
dear thoughts of home and marriage and happy 
work to the dearer thought of being with Him, 
and seeing Him as He is. His last words, uttered 
at the final moment, were : Christ is all in all ; 
Christ is all in all. Let me go, my friends. Don t 
hold me back. Let me go, Tom. I must go. I 
want to go to Him. "Simply to Thy cross I 
cling." Let me go. So he passed on." 

To this account I am now enabled to make a 
touching addition. On May 10th Grenfell told 
Hartland that he was dying. After hearing the 
announcement, and having the witness in himself 



that it was true, he indited four letters, severally 
addressed to his father, his mother, his two sisters, 
and Miss Thomas. The first three have been 
placed in my hands. 

In the letter to his father Hartland explains 
that as the power of writing has passed from 
him, his friend Butcher is taking down the words 
at his dictation. The same notes of dignity, 
tenderness, and calm faith are found in every one. 
Assured that only good can come of it, I venture 
to print the tenderest of them all. 

"BAYNESTON, CONGO RIVER. 

"May 10, 1883. 

" MY DEAR MOTHER, You will be sorry to 
know when you get this letter that your mis 
sionary boy has passed away from the field of 
active service to rest. My views of missionary 
life were not that I should fall after four short 
years, but that I should spend my whole life in 
Christ s service. But He knows best. I know 
you will not grieve to hear that He has delivered 
me from a long and painful illness, and at last 
taken me to Himself. But, oh ! my dear mother, 
I am so sorry for you. Your heart will break. 
Oh, may He be very near to you ! You have been 
a dear, good mother to me, and now in writing 
this brief farewell I feel happy that it will not 
be so long before we meet again, in His land, 
where sickness and dying are no more. 

" Comfort poor, dear Gwennie ; and while you 
live, be a mother and a friend to her. 
" Farewell, 

"Your affectionate son, 
" JOHN." 

Englishwoman in Africa. 4 



34 BETROTHAL. BEREAVEMENT, AND 

Mrs. Hartland was faithful to the charge of 
her dying son. From that time forth, as long as 
she lived, she was " a mother and a friend " to 
Miss Thomas, and from that time forth Miss 
Thomas called her " mother." What wonder that 
she wrote to Miss Hartland while her grief was 
new, "I feel so thankful ever to have had the 
love of such a brave, good, noble man ? Oh, 
Lily, what have I lost ? " With wonted kindness 
Mrs. May granted Miss Thomas leave of absence. 
Part of the resting-time was spent with Mrs. 
Hartland and part with her cousin in Yorkshire. 

At first, in the great weariness following sus 
pense and shock, Miss Thomas confessed more 
than once a yearning to follow her dear one into 
the great rest. But her native strength of mind, 
and her loyalty to God quickly conquered such 
weakness. Rather would she live to carry on 
his work. 

The following extracts from letters written 
while her great sorrow was still fresh and keen, 
will give the reader some insight into the inner 
life of a woman who was learning in the school 
of pain, those deeper lessons of the faith, which 
may be learned by rote in other schools, but not 
by heart, lessons which she never forgot, which 
contain the last secret of her victorious life. 

"August 21st. (To Mrs. Hartland.) But don t 
think from this that I am worrying or fretting ; 
for I am not. God is with me, and I feel more and 
more as the days go by that our darling s prayers 
for me have been wonderfully answered, that I 
am helped and comforted. And is it not an honour 
and privilege to know Him and the fellowship of 



DESIGNATION TO THE CAMEROONS 35 

His sufferings ? He has always been with me in 
trouble and sorrow, but never so near as in this 
the deepest of all. I hardly like to write thus, but 
I want you to know, so that you may not be 
anxious about me. And as to my future, I have 
left it with Him to do as He will with me, and 
I pray for grace to be faithful in whatever work 
He calls me to." 

"August 28th. (To Miss Hartland.) To-day 
I have had a letter, a very precious one, from Mr. 
Comber. ... I think he is feeling his loss very 
much, though he writes as brightly as he can. . . . 
Since I have been back I have read through 
Farrar s Life of Christ, and it has helped me so 
much. I think these sorrows must be sent to us 
to make us know that Christ is all in all ; for 
gradually we come to learn that having Him we 
can do without all else. And yet, how we long for 
human love ! Nor do I think it can be wrong to 
do so ; for even Christ looked for human sym 
pathy in His sorrow. He could not find it. And, 
oh, how much we have had in ours ! I never so 
much realised before the oneness of the people 
of God ; so many kind letters from far and near, 
some even from unknown friends, and yet so 
full of sympathy and prayer. I have thought of 
that verse so often : 

His way was much rougher and darker than mine ; 
"Did Christ my Lord suffer, and shall I repine?" 

" Same date. (To Mrs. Hartland.) I am very 
thankful the way seems to be opening. Of course 
I will go to India if it is thought best. But no one 
knows how dear and sacred Africa is to me. . . . My 



36 BETROTHAL. BEREAVEMENT, AND 

only wish now is to live as he lived, and when my 
work is done (if God wills) to die as he died, for 
Christ and Africa. I do think of you so much, and 
could almost envy you at times the sweet, pure 
memories of his boyish days. I do feel it is an 
honour to have had the love (for so many years 
though I did not know it) of such a noble, true, 
good man. And I am sure you, dear mother, feel 
it a high privilege to have had such a son. It is a 
great comfort to look back, and while we sorrow, 
to feel there is nothing to regret. A pure, noble 
life, and a glorious death. I think of that text so 
often, If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice because 
I go to My Father. Oh, how happy he must be !" 



As soon as she had recovered strength after the 
shock of her great bereavement, Miss Thomas 
formed the determination to go to the mission- 
field alone, and with little delay made application 
to the Baptist Missionary Society. Her application 
was accepted in September. At first there was 
thought of sending her to India, but finally, to her 
great joy, it was decided that she should labour 
at the Cameroons, travelling thither with Miss 
Comber, who had already spent one term of 
service in the field which her brother had left for 
the Congo. 

Uncertainty as to the time of her actual 
departure compelled her to relinquish forthwith 
her engagement with Mrs. May, who was on the 
point of going abroad for some months. But she 
was opportunely invited to take another position, 
for the time being, which she rightly affirmed 



DESIGNATION TO THE CAMEROONS 37 

that Providence had specially arranged for her. 
Her friend Mrs. Seymour required the help of a 
lady in her home, and was willing to receive Miss 
Thomas on terms which friendship dictated, and 
which friendship eagerly accepted. She was 
to regard herself as a visitor, and feel perfectly 
free to attend to her own affairs, and to depart 
whenever the call should come. 

So Miss Thomas went from Hampstead to High 
bury, where she passed the busy months of wait 
ing in an atmosphere of sympathy and friendship. 
After some changes of arrangement it was 
ultimately fixed that she and Miss Comber 
should sail from Liverpool on March 5th. On 
Monday, March 3rd, a farewell meeting was held 
at Camden Road Church, and on behalf of the 
Sunday School, Mr. Parkinson presented Miss 
Thomas with a harmoniphon. She also received 
at the same meeting a medicine chest, the gift of 
Mr. Baynes, whose absence in consequence of ill 
ness was much deplored. There were some forty 
other presents privately given of which I have the 
list. It included items of practical utility. Among 
them, five pounds worth of spoons, forks, and 
table requisites, from "the Ladies Missionary 
Working Party " ; and (equally useful) from other 
friends, four five-pound notes. Notable among the 
names of the donors are those of M. Gustave 
Masson, French Master at Harrow, Miss Thomas s 
uncle by marriage with her mother s sister ; and 
the Rev. William Brock, minister of Heath Street, 
Hampstead, whose church Miss Thomas had 
attended during her stay in the district, and 
from whom she had received much of that dis. 



38 BETROTHAL AND BEREAVEMENT 

cerning, sympathetic kindness which still endears 
him to all who come within its scope. 

Miss Thomas spent the last fortnight with her 
friends, the Hartlands, at 34, Falkland Road, and 
on the morning of March 4th, she and Miss 
Comber left St. Pancras after an enthusiastic 
valediction from a large group of friends. They 
were accompanied to Liverpool by Mr. Percy 
Comber, Miss Comber s younger brother, and Miss 
Alice Hartland. Mrs. Fletcher of Edge Lane, 
whose daughter was on the field at Cameroons, 
entertained them, with warmest hospitality, and 
in the evening a drawing-room meeting was held, 
at which the Rev. John Jenkyn Brown presided. 

The next day shortly after noon they embarked 
in a tender, and proceeded to board the ss. 
Corisco, which lay in the stream. Many friends 
elected to say " goodbye " on board, and when 
the bell rang and the tender left, two of them, 
Mr. Percy Comber and Miss Alice Hartland, 
remained as stowaways, and secured the un- 
chartered pleasure of a voyage with their dear 
ones down the river and across the bar. But their 
deferred farewells must needs be said at last. 
They also were put off in turn, and the two young 
missionary women passed out to sea. 



CHAPTER III 

VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, AND A SURFEIT OF 
ADVENTURES. 1884 

THE trials of the missionary life commenced 
early for Miss Thomas. During the voyage 
to Madeira the weather was exceptionally bad, 
and she and Miss Comber endured the horrors of 
sea-sickness for a week. Happily their sorrows 
were mitigated by invincible good spirits. They 
" were very jolly all the time," made jokes of their 
own miseries, and when the doctor enquired with 
traditional sympathy whether they yearned to 
be flung overboard, his obliging suggestion 
was repelled with scorn. The ship carried no 
stewardess, and at first they found it embarass- 
ing to be waited upon by a man. But " any 
port in a storm," and any help in the sickness 
which the storm produces ! The steward was a 
nice kindly person, and they soon became used 
to his presence and grateful for his attendance. 
During the days of wild buffeting by wind and 
wave, the harbour of Madeira was looked forward 
to with strong desire, and it was a doleful hour 
in which the Captain expressed his fear that the 
badness of the weather would preclude his touch- 

39 



40 VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, 

ing at the Island. That fear was discredited by 
the event ; the weather moderated, and upon 
sighting land the sufferers were able to appear 
on deck. 

They both found much comfort in the presence 
of a third lady, Mrs. Buckenham, who was going 
out to her husband, a Primitive Methodist mis 
sionary stationed at Fernando Po. The Captain s 
marked kindness was an additional comfort, and 
indeed the source of very many. His cabin on 
deck had been annexed by certain gentlemen as a 
smoking saloon, but upon the appearance of the 
missionary ladies, the smokers suffered summary 
eviction, and the cabin was placed at their service. 
On the morning of March 12th they steamed 
round Madeira and made the harbour in perfect 
weather, which permitted them to take unchecked 
delight in the lovely scenery. The Captain saw 
them ashore, secured for them a spacious, private, 
detached apartment at the hotel where he himself 
put up, and in the afternoon Miss Thomas sat 
down to write a merry letter to her " dear 
Mother," Mrs. Hartland. 

As she writes her attention is confessedly dis 
tracted by the dazzling charms of the flower- 
garden she looks out upon, and the more sober, 
but more enthralling charms of the tea-table, 
which is being spread. Her week of sea-sickness 
is pleaded as an excuse for gloating over mere 
victuals, the validity of which plea the humane 
reader will immediately allow. Referring to the 
troubles passed, she writes gaily : " And we had 
many a laugh at our own expense. To see the 
boxes and chairs executing a jig in the middle of 



AND A SURFEIT OF ADVENTURES 41 

the room, and then to hear the fearful crashes of 
crockery in the pantry next our cabin, ourselves 
making frantic efforts to get from one side of the 
room to the other, and ending by being landed on 
the floor in an elegant sitting posture, or coming 
up with a spin against the door all this was very 
diverting." 

As the Corisco was timed to sail at nine o clock 
the next morning, Miss Thomas and her friends 
had little opportunity of making acquaintance 
with Funchal. Yet, in the limited time at their 
disposal they moved about briskly, with eyes wide 
open, and acquired many vivid impressions of the 
natural beauties of the place and the non-English 
social novelties which appealed to them in the 
shops and in the streets. 

From Madeira to Sierra Leone the voyage was 
pleasant as a picnic. Miss Thomas and Miss 
Comber were much in favour with their fellow- 
passengers, and the Captain made them his 
peculiar care. He was an English sailor of the 
best type, and though he had no special reverence 
for their mission, he unfeignedly admired their 
British pluck, in which they were at least his 
peers. Sometimes he told them dismal, tragical 
tales of Africa, with the purpose of testing their 
mettle, and when he found that they refused to 
be dismayed, he assured them they were just the 
kind of folk to do well on the West Coast, where 
courage and good spirits are the best defence 
against the hostilities of the deadly climate. One 
day he came upon them at afternoon tea, winked 
at their illicit spirit-stove, and craved to be 
allowed to join them. Thereafter, at this little 



42 VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, 

function, he was their daily guest. He told them 
" wonderful stories of his wife, of whom he was 
very proud," made his black boy " Dollar " their 
servant, and taught his retriever dog to amuse 
them and attend them. His apology for his rather 
more than conventional kindness was ingenious 
and conclusive. " At Liverpool the Sky-pilot 
(Rev. John Jenkyn Brown) specially charged me 
to take good care of both of you, and I am going 
to fulfil my commission faithfully." His protegees 
so far imbued him with the missionary spirit that 
he promised to give a concert at Bonny in aid of 
the work. The promise may have been kept, but 
the fulfilment of it is not recorded. 

On March 19th the Corisco was " off Sierra 
Leone." Nine days later she lay outside the bar 
at the mouth of Benin River. The Captain and 
some of his passengers had business up the 
river, and took the three missionary ladies with 
them. They were deposited in the launch by 
means of the crane and the chair, an experience 
which they found amusing, the time of their 
departure from the ship being 9 a.m. At the 
Bar the sea was rough to the point of ugliness, 
and the Captain regretted that he had brought 
the ladies ; but there was no mishap, and very 
soon the voyagers, whose pulses had been 
quickened by the passage of the Bar, were enjoy 
ing the quiet waters of the mile-wide river, with 
its banks " dotted here and there by little towns." 
Miss Thomas shall tell in her own words the rest 
of the story of her Benin expedition : 

" As we stopped at the various traders wharves 
while the Captain and some of the gentlemen 



AND A SURFEIT OF ADVENTURES 43 

went ashore, the people came crowding down to 
look at us, as only two white ladies had passed 
up the river before, and that many years ago. 
Our eyes were the great attraction, which all 
happened to be light. One woman was very proud 
because she could manage to say, How do, 
Mammy ? 

" We went on to see a Mr. Henderson whose 
house is built on an island. He is a very good 
man, and a total abstainer, so we determined 
to lunch with him. Upon arrival we knocked 
and made a great noise before we could get any 
answer. At last a man came, and most politely 
taking off his hat, inquired, You live, Mammy ? 
To which we responded, Yes, we live. You live ? 
Finally he brought a key and we went into the 
courtyard where we met Mr. Henderson whose 
astonishment was complete. He said that when 
he was told three white ladies had come, he sur 
mised that the sailors of a ship in the river were 
having fun with him, and would not come down. 
We had a very nice lunch, and some delicious 
tea for which Mr. Henderson is noted. Among 
other presents he gave us a tin full of it. We 
commenced our return at 3.30 and had a very rough 
passage. Our little boat was tossed on the waves, 
and the spray kept breaking over us. Darkness 
fell, a tornado followed in our track, and the 
lightning was most splendid. We sat, well covered 
up, singing Sankey s hymns. It was a fine experi 
ence, and happily we reached the ship just before 
the rain fell." 

On Sunday, March 30th, the Corisco reached 
Bonny, and 011 the morrow the mail steamer Seneyal 



44 VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, 

arrived bringing two passengers whose presence 
was cordially welcomed ; Mr. Buckenham, who 
had come so far to meet his wife, and Mr. Liley, 
of the Livingstone Inland Mission from the 
Congo. But the pleasure of meeting Mr. Liley 
was shadowed by the heavy news he bore. From 
him Miss Thomas received part of that terrible 
budget of evil tidings which greeted George Gren- 
fell at Stanley Pool, when he returned from his 
boat journey to the equator on March 4th. She 
learned that Mr. Hartley, the new missionary, and 
the two engineers sent out to reconstruct the 
Peace, had all died on their journey up-country, 
and that the work on the Congo, passing dear to 
her, was gravely disorganised by the sickness of 
several workers. Moreover, a letter from Miss 
Saker announced that Mr. Lewis had broken down 
and gone south, Miss Fletcher was ailing, while 
the writer herself was in such poor case that she 
would be compelled to start for a trip to Gaboon 
immediately upon the arrival of Miss Thomas. 
This would necessitate that Miss Comber should 
come to Bethel Station, Cameroons, to remain with 
Miss Thomas during Miss Saker s absence, instead 
of commencing her work forthwith at Victoria. 

The young missionaries were delayed several 
days at Bonny, made a visit to Opobo, and called 
upon King Ja-Ja, whose hospitality they enjoyed, 
not without effort. The palm oil " chop " was an 
ordeal. The King himself was a nice man and 
friendly, but his house was frightfully dirty and 
wore the aspect of a curiosity shop, promiscuously 
furnished with odds and ends presented him by 
the traders. Miss Thomas and the other ladies 



AND A SURFEIT OF ADVENTURES 45 

were permitted to visit his wives, concerning which 
visit she significantly remarks : " It was awful." 
The bright side of a depressing experience was 
the King s earnestly expressed desire that a white 
missionary should come to reside in his town, and 
she had some hope that Mr. Buckenham s society 
might be able to meet his wish. 

Before leaving Bonny Miss Thomas and Miss 
Comber said " goodbye " to the Corisco and its 
genial captain, and were transhipped to the 
Loanda. A few days later they arrived at 
Victoria, and the elements accorded them a 
boisterous welcome, as the following extract from 
the Missionary Herald will make apparent: 

" On April 4th Miss Comber and Miss Gwen 
Thomas safely reached Victoria. Miss Comber 
writes : When we reached Victoria, Mrs. Thomson 
came on the vessel to meet us, and when all was 
ready we started for the shore in two boats 
our mission boat, and the ship s boat Mrs. Quintin 
Thomson, the doctor and the purser of the ship, 
going in the mission boat, while Miss Thomas 
and I went with the Captain in the ship s boat. 
When we were near the shore a very large wave 
came suddenly, and before the Kroo-boys had time 
to pull away from it, it broke over us and turned 
the boat right over, and we directly found our 
selves in the water. Fortunately the other boat 
was not far off, and very quickly came back for 
us and picked us up before we had been in the 
water many minutes. The children were all on 
the beach waiting to welcome us with singing, 
but when they saw Miss Thomas carried to the 
house (she had lost her shoes) and me walking 



46 VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, 

up drenched with water, they said they were 
" not fit to sing." Happily we are none the worse 
for our wetting. This happened on Saturday. 
On Sunday night we had the heaviest tornado I 
have ever known. Our people say there has not 
been so strong a one for twenty-three years. 
Unfortunately it did a good deal of damage to 
Brook Mount, taking down the front piazza and 
a good deal of the roof. It happened just as we 
were going to bed, and a second time we got a 
wetting ; so we had rather a rough welcome to 
Africa. 

" From Bethel Miss Thomas adds : The country 
is all so beautiful, and the climate so delightful, 
that it is hard to understand it is so unhealthy. 
I am very anxious to get on with the Dualla 
language, as I see it will be very necessary here. 
We had a most delightful day yesterday (Sunday). 
Miss Saker is away, just now, having gone South 
for her health. But we were just in time to see 
her before she left, and Miss Comber is with me 
now. I am so glad and thankful to be at last 
really engaged in mission work in Africa. We 
have six children in the house now, and there 
are several more wanting to come. " 

Miss Thomas was an excellent correspondent 
from the beginning of her missionary life, but 
not many of her earliest African letters are 
available, and the reader must be content with 
fragmentary notes of the beginnings of her work. 
The passage quoted above was written on or 
about April 16th, and on that date, in a letter to 
Miss Alice Hartland, she states that she is very 
well, and has not had a single headache since 



AND A SURFEIT OF ADVENTURES 47 

leaving England. The rains are just commencing. 
She has had a walk through the town with Mr. 
Silvey, and is impressed by the size of it. In 
the absence of King Aqua she has been granted 
the honour of an interview with his chief wife. 
She has also paid a visit to the week-old baby 
of Dubundu, the native pastor. The lady was 
almost as bare of clothing as the baby. The 
one struck her as " horrid-looking," the other as 
" funny." Definite arrangements as regards her 
particular work are postponed, pending the return 
of Miss Saker, who is expected home in ten days. 
A present is enclosed for " Mother s " birthday. 

On April 21st Miss Thomas reports receiving 
the sad news of the death of Mr. Johnstone, a 
Christian trader, residing at Bonny, who had 
shown much kindness to her and her friends 
during their stay at that port. Assured of his 
sympathy, they had been able to speak to him 
with grateful freedom of their ideals and their 
work. He had traded on the coast for fifteen 
years, was due home in two months, but was 
suddenly stricken down with erysipelas and died. 
The kind heart of the writer is heavy with the 
thought of the desolation which the news will 
bear to his wife and children in England. Flags 
are flying half-mast in the river. An English 
sailor lies dead, who leaves a wife and nine 
children in England. The Mission people are 
sending a wreath for his burial. 

May 12th was the anniversary of John Hart- 
land s death, and Miss Thomas wrote to his 
mother assured that both would be " thinking of 
the dear one who, this day last year, went home 



48 VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, 

to God." Sad news has come from the Congo, 
including a report of the very serious illness of 
Thomas Comber. During Miss Saker s continued 
absence Miss Comber is to remain with Miss 
Thomas, much to her joy, as they are like-minded. 
But the tidings of her brother s illness, and the 
necessity of a flying visit to Victoria, have pro 
strated Miss Comber with fever, through which 
she is affectionately nursed by her friend. Mr. 
Lewis has come over from Victoria, and Miss 
Thomas finds him " nice," and " a thorough 
Welshman." He had lent her a book on Wales, 
which interests her much. But the only time 
for a good read is the time of recovering from 
fever. The Sunday services are mostly in Dualla, 
and although they include a short address in 
English, it is framed with a view to local capacities 
and requirements, and her soul longs for a Sunday 
at Camden Road with Mr. Tucker, to whom she 
sends her love. 

Miss Alice Hartland had helped Miss Thomas 
with some of her packing, and on May 17th the 
results were reported. A good many things had 
come to grief. A number of books needed to 
have their covers washed and to be laid in the 
sun to dry a statement which the book-lover will 
read with shuddering. But the worst misfortune 
was not to be laid to the charge of the amateur 
packers. The Kroo-boys who carried the cases 
must needs drop something, and with fine dis 
crimination they chose a case containing a bath 
filled with crockery. The smash was effective, 
and the details may be left to imagination. 

In this letter Miss Thomas reports her continued 



AND A SURFEIT OF ADVENTURES 49 

good health, but complains of bad nights as her 
worst trouble. "The Kroo-boys on the beach 
strike every hour by banging something which 
sounds like a tin tray. The natives are constantly 
beating their tomtoms, which sets our dog 
Fidele barking. Then the goats begin to bleat, 
and the little dogs in the yard to howl, so that 
between them all it is horrible. As this happens 
almost every night, and storms are frequent, a 
good night is consequently a rare blessing." 

Miss Saker and Mr. Lewis are expected from 
Victoria, their boat is in the river. Sunday was 
enjoyed. Miss Thomas took the two senior boys 
classes, and hopes that a senior boys class will 
be allotted to her. "They understand English 
properly and are very intelligent." 

A month later she refers to a letter which has 
told of her first attack of fever and how wonder 
fully she had got over it. Her friends think she 
will not have it so badly again. Her fevers are 
likely to be " strong," but it is believed she can 
bear them better than most people, so anxiety 
about her is to be dismissed. 

Miss Fletcher, of Victoria, is returning home 
broken down. The sorrow of her friends is fore 
cast and deplored, and Miss Comber s ensuing 
loneliness at Victoria occasions solicitude. In this 
letter, dated June 17th, and addressed to Mrs. 
Hartland, Miss Thomas pleads for more Camden 
Road news and adds, touchingly : " When I was 
ill, and my head was so bad that I could get no 
sleep, I kept fancying if I could only hear Mr. 
Tucker read something it would send me to sleep. 
Of course it was only fancy, but it was the one 

Englishwoman in Africa, 5 



50 VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, 

thing I seemed to long for." In consequence of 
the fever her hair has been cut quite short like 
a boy s. She cares nothing for the look of it, 
and it will be much better in case of the re 
currence of fever. 

On July llth Miss Thomas was at Victoria 
whither she had been hastily summoned to attend 
Miss Comber who was down with fever and dysen 
tery. Pending Miss Thomas s arrival Mr. Lewis 
had acted as doctor and nurse, and his gentleness 
and skill were gratefully appreciated by his 
patient and by her nurse, when she came. The 
other missionaries at Victoria, Mr. Hay and Mr. 
Pinnock, were also full of kindness and concern. 
Referring to her call from Bethel Station, Miss 
Thomas says : 

" This is how the work is interrupted here. I 
will try to give you an idea of it from this week s 
experience. Miss Saker and I had just been 
making new arrangements for the management 
of our school, and had planned out our daily 
work afresh. On Monday morning we had told 
the girls of our new arrangements. We had also 
set apart a time every day in which Mr. Silvey 
and I were to read Dualla with Miss Saker. She 
had not been well enough for this previously. 
Well, on Monday evening, Mr. Silvey came 
running in with Mr. Burnley bringing letters 
from Mr. Lewis requesting me to come at once. 
First, they had to knock up some men and go to 
Dr. Allen s ship to learn his opinion of the treat 
ment adopted. It was half-past one a.m. when 
they returned. Meanwhile I got my things ready 
and at 6 a.m. started. The travelling is bad in 
the rainy season. . . . 



AND A SURFEIT OF ADVENTURES 51 

" I think you may like to know something about 
the journey between Cameroons and Victoria. 
First we are carried by Kroo-boys into the boat, 
which is a six-oared lifeboat with an awning over 
one end. Then our course lies down the river 
for about twenty miles. After that we cross a 
stretch of sea, and then turn into creeks, which 
run between mangrove swamps. This time, about 
eleven o clock, the boat was pulled up to the bank, 
and tied fast to a tree. Then we all had chop. . . . 
The Kroo-boys eat theirs at the other end of the 
boat. After rather a rough passage we reached 
Bimbia about 8 p.m. The sea was too rough 
to go further that night. I never saw anything 
more beautiful than the scene as I lay in the boat 
in Bimbia Bay. The water there was compara 
tively calm, while outside one could see the raging 
breakers. The sky was clear overhead, the moon 
shining brilliantly upon the little town, which 
consists of a few native houses, surrounded by 
loveliest trees. There is only one white man s 
house, that of the German Agent, at which I was 
forced to stay the night. He was very kind, got 
me supper, made up a bed for me, and provided 
a black girl to sleep with me and to wait upon 
me. The next morning we started at sunrise, 
and arrived here (Victoria) at half-past eight. 
Mr. Lewis, Mr. Hay and John Pinnock were on 
the beach waiting for me. Mr. Lewis has just 
come in to say the mail is leaving to-night, so I 
must not write more. Miss Comber has made 
good progress. She is sitting up in her room, 
and with assistance walked twice round the 
sitting-room to-day. I think she will do well 



52 VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, 

now, with care ; but she will need to go for a 
trip South before resuming her work. Mr. Hay 
and John Pinnock are both down with fever, 
and very ill, especially the former. Mr. Lewis is 
staying with both and nursing both. I do trust 
they will get over it well. I am very anxious 
about Mr. Hay. There is a man-of-war at anchor 
here now. Mr. Lewis and I went on board 
yesterday for a change. That was before John 
Pinnock fell ill. The doctor came ashore and 
saw the two patients, but he is evidently not 
very reliable. We think he had been drinking. 
Mr. Lewis is becoming quite a doctor now. I 
cannot write more." 

As Mr. Lewis, whose name has been mentioned 
two or three times, is destined to take a very 
prominent place in this life-story, it is fitting that 
at least a few words of formal introduction should 
be accorded to him ; and if they are but few, the 
reader must know that my hand is restrained by 
his express desire. 

Thomas Lewis was born at Whitland, Carmar 
thenshire, in 1859. He was a Welsh-speaking 
Welshman, and his early Christian work was done 
in the vernacular. He can still preach in Welsh 
upon occasion, though he has lost some of his 
former fluency. But when he preaches in English 
his accent and his lilt bewray him. In the order of 
Providence he learned to work in wood and iron 
before he studied theology, and his skill as a handi 
craftsman has been scarcely less useful to him in 
his African career than his book-learning. After 
an honourable course at Haverfordwest College 
he was accepted by the B.M.S. for service in Africa, 




GEORGE THOMAS. 
MISS THOMAS 



MK S. THOMAS. 
RKV. THO\f in T v\i 



AND A SURFEIT OF ADVENTURES 53 

and was sent to the Canieroons in 1883. When Mr. 
Lewis first met Miss Thomas he was engaged to 
Miss Phillips of Haverfordwest, and how he was 
happily married and swiftly bereaved will be told 
in the next chapter. 

On August 5th Miss Thomas writes of " our 
troubles " which came in sequence to the anxious 
stay at Victoria. She herself has been down 
with fever, has made a good recovery, but has 
been " silly enough " to sprain her ankle. Yet 
on the whole she is in good form, and is pro 
nounced " wonderful " by the local doctor. But 
Miss Saker s continued and alarming illness will 
necessitate her return home. Her things are 
packed, they are awaiting the arrival of the mail, 
and Miss Thomas is to accompany her part way. 
Miss Thomas continues : " It is now a month 
since I went to Victoria to nurse Miss Comber, 
and I have been nursing ever since with an 
interval of five days for my own fever." The 
news from Victoria is bad. Miss Comber is very 
unwell ; Mr. Hay is very ill ; and the work is at 
a standstill. 

The mail steamer Bonny arrived on August 
19th under the command of Captain Dyson, 
who had shown Miss Thomas and Miss Comber 
so much kindness on their voyage out from 
Liverpool. Captain Dyson was amazed and de 
lighted to find his young friend looking so well- 
better than when she left England, though 
perceptibly thinner. Mr. and Mrs. Buckenham 
were with Captain Dyson, and they all spent a 
day at the Mission. Miss Saker was placed in the 
Captain s boat, in a bed, and carried aboard the 



54 VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, 

Bonny, and the homeward voyage was com 
menced. 

While at sea Miss Thomas herself fell ill, and 
was constrained to go much further than she 
intended, even to Madeira. Misadventures retard 
her return, and on October 29th she is still at 
sea, and dates from the "ss. Congo, between 
Akassa and Bonny." Her letter will return from 
the Cameroons by the mail ship on which she 
writes. She is quite a good sailor now ; never 
feels sick, and can take her constitutional, how 
ever badly the ship may be rolling. But her 
mind is gravely exercised by grievous thoughts 
of the long interruption of her work, and the 
heavy expense to the Society, which this voyage 
entails. She is dreading to hear from the Mission 
House lest the official letter may convey rebuke, 
and Mr. Baynes may be vexed by action on her 
part which may seem to be ill advised. A vain fear, 
at the recollection of which she would smile in 
later years, when she came to know how warm 
was Mr. Baynes s friendship for her, and how 
from earliest days his insight into character had 
taught him to place implicit reliance upon her 
good feeling and her good sense. Meanwhile she 
adds grimly : " I ll never come bringing invalids 
home again" the mere voice of a mood which 
sympathy will know how to interpret. 

While writing this letter her thoughts turn to 
Christmas. At the great anniversary seasons, 
friends far sundered, meet in spirit, and she will 
think much of dear ones at home ; though 
on Christmas day she will be very busy, as the 
school treat at Bethel will then take place. Little 



AND A SURFEIT OF ADVENTURES 55 

did Miss Thomas realise when she wrote this 
down, how strange would be the conditions in 
which that treat would be held, and how little 
of outward peace the birthday of the Prince 
of Peace would bring to the Cameroons. The 
German annexation had been negotiated with 
out the consent of certain local rulers who were 
concerned, and this fact bred discontent which 
ultimately fomented insurrection and internecine 
hostilities between the chiefs who were aggrieved. 
For an account of the general aspect of the 
German troubles the reader is referred to 
Note A at the end of the book. The volcanic 
upheaval came at the close of the year, and the 
following graphic letter gives the personal ex 
periences of Miss Thomas, and affords an early 
disclosure of the heroic material of which she 
was made : 

" BETHEL STATION. 

December 16, 1884. 

"MY DEAREST MOTHER, I am afraid you will 
get short letters from me this time. The mail 
is due in two days, I have not a line written 
yet, and I am so busy this week. I had a most 
pleasant time at Victoria, and when Mr. Comber 
went [who had called at Victoria on his way home 
from Congo], Mr. Lewis came to fetch me back. 
By the by, he told me some time ago to give 
his kind regards to you and to say that he had 
heard much about you, and hoped some day to 
make your acquaintance. The little steamer did 
not come, so I was forced to return in the boat. 
The voyage was rather long, but we arrived none 
the worse for it. The fact was I slept nearly 



56 VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, 

all the way. We were very naughty at Victoria 
and used to stay up very late talking. Not having 
seen one another for so long, we had heaps to 
say. I left Carrie well, and also John Pinnock. 

"The river here is in a most unsettled state. 
There is fighting all round us, but it has not 
come to our town yet. It is all in consequence 
of the German occupation, and the Germans 
encourage it. To-day Bell Town has been burnt 
down. I am now expecting Mr. Lewis to tea, 
so shall hear all about it. Two men were put 
to death there this morning, and one at Hickory 
yesterday. Jibarri was burnt down on Monday. 
The native teacher has fled, and the place is 
deserted. Firing is constantly going on, and war 
canoes are passing up and down the river. Do 
not be alarmed for me. We are quite safe, and 
the trouble has not affected our people yet. 

"It seems so strange to think that Christmas 
is so near, I can hardly believe it. We are 
having fine hot weather, though the rains have 
not entirely ceased. Our school examinations are 
in course this week, and on Thursday we hold 
a public examination in the chapel. I must tell 
you about it next time. Our treat is fixed for 
Friday, and other treats are to be held at other 
stations during next week. Of course it entails 
work in looking out prizes, presents, &c., and 
on Friday Mr. Lewis is going to show the magic 
lantern. The children have come out pretty well 
in the examinations. Of course the subjects are 
elementary: writing, reading, spelling, dictation, 
sums, tables, needlework, and recitation of hymns. 

" December 22, 1884. Since writing the foregoing 



so much has happened that will be interesting to 
all my friends that I beg you to let Mr. Tucker 
see this letter, and any others who may desire, 
for I cannot write a second, I have so much to 
tell. I have already told you of the unsettled 
state of the river. On Friday last (this is Monday) 
we heard that there were two German warships 
at the Bar, and on Saturday morning two small 
steamers came up the river towing boatloads of 
soldiers. Without giving any notice, they steamed 
up to Hickory Town, firing at every canoe on 
their way, landed men at Hickory, who set fire 
to the town while their comrades kept up a 
fusillade from the boats. Epea was down here 
and afraid to return. But his wife and children 
were at Hickory, so Mr. Silvey went up with 
him immediately, and sent Mrs. Epea and the 
children down to us, remaining himself with 
Epea. He found that Mr. Schmidt (of the German 
House) had saved our Mission House, but the 
chapel and schoolroom were burnt to the ground. 
(By this time the house is burnt also. The people 
have all fled to the bush, and the town is de 
stroyed.) When Mr. Silvey returned he brought 
with him about fifty people, whom we managed 
to sleep as best we could, some in our house 
and some in the school-house. In the meantime 
the Germans steamed down the river and attacked 
Joss Town, which adjoins Bell Town. There they 
met with most determined resistance, and at 
first were driven back, forty-one of their soldiers 
being killed. The Joss people also went to 
Schmidt s beach, dragged out Mr. Hammer (the 
clerk in charge) took him into the bush and 



58 VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, 

killed him. The fighting went on for hours. Mr. 
Lewis could not leave, having no boat ; and he 
and his two boys had to turn up the table and 
lie behind it, as the bullets were flying through 
the house ; one passed close to his ear. He did 
not reach us until 5 p.m., when the tide went 
down, and he could walk along the beach, having 
had a very narrow escape. Of course all this 
time I was alone here and very anxious about 
Mr. Silvey and Mr. Lewis. At the first sound of 
firing the people came rushing to the Mission 
House being terribly frightened, as both the 
towns involved in the trouble are so close that 
we could see them burning. The firing was going 
on all around, and a gunboat was passing up and 
down in front of this town, firing on the beach. 
One of the white men was wounded, and had 
to be carried to Buchan s ship. Of course we 
did not know what was going to happen next. 
The house was crowded with people, and I did 
my best to quiet them, but with no great success. 
"Yesterday we were hoping for a quiet day. 
We held a prayer-meeting in the morning instead 
of the service, and had Sunday School as usual. 
But shortly after our return home, the Mission 
premises were surrounded by hundreds of German 
soldiers who commenced searching for Hickory 
and Joss people. Our houses were full of people, 
but they were not those whom the Germans 
wanted. Yet they persisted in believing that we 
were hiding their enemies. They searched every 
nook and corner of Mr. Silvey s house, and of 
mine, walking about with loaded revolvers in their 
hands, with which they threatened Mr. Silvey 



AND A SURFEIT OF ADVENTURES 59 

and Mr. Lewis. They were a little more polite 
to me. My house was full of women and children, 
who were so frightened that they begged me 
not to leave them even to go into the next room. 
The Germans then compelled Mr. Lewis to go 
with them to Bell Town that they might search 
the house there, which is completely ruined, all 
his work there having gone for nothing. Bethel 
Station only is left now, there being neither 
buildings nor people at the others. Yesterday 
the Germans sent round a proclamation saying 
that any persons who directly or indirectly help 
the disaffected people will be treated as enemies 
and banished. This morning one of the warships 
came up the river and threw shells into Hickory, 
completing the ruin. It does seem dreadful that 
all this cruel work should be done by people 
calling themselves Christians. You may imagine 
that it has been, and is, a very anxious time for 
us all. But we have great cause for thankfulness, 
as we are all well. I am only afraid this news 
will reach you before our letters and cause anxiety 
on our behalf. What will be the result to the 
Mission we cannot tell. We hear that the Basle 
Mission are coming. (It is the best Mission on 
the coast.) In that case I suppose our Mission 
will give up the work. It does seem a pity. But 
it will require a large staff to do any good, so 
much building will be necessary. I am especially 
sorry about Hickory. It was such a nice little 
station, and had the best of our chapels. How 
strange that these things should be permitted. 
But the work is God s, and we must leave it in 
His hands. The worst thing about the Germans 



60 VOYAGE TO THE CAMEROONS, 

is their manner of treating the people. Morgan, 
the pilot, is one of our best men, a very superior 
person. They put a rope round his neck, and 
told him they would hang him if he did not bring 
the man-of-war properly up the river. The people 
are full of comparisons between the English and 
the Germans, but little complimentary to the 
latter. 

"Now I will turn to a more pleasant subject. 
Last Thursday we held a public examination of 
our schools in the chapel, and invited parents 
and friends. The children behaved nicely, sang, 
recited, and were examined in tables and spelling. 
Mr. Lewis presided and gave the prizes, which 
consisted of work-boxes, desks, books, shirts, &c. 
Then on Friday we held our treat, and had a fine 
time. My arms are still stiff from the effects of 
it. We began, in the morning, to cut up the 
pork, which I had cooked the previous day. It 
took me and two of my boys more than an hour 
to do this, and it was hot work. Meanwhile two 
of the women were cooking the rice in the yard, 
while Mrs. Williams made the fish soup in her 
house. The soup and the rice were then put into 
baths and carried into the chapel. When all 
was ready, and two tables covered with toys for 
dashes, the children were let in. Each brought 
a plate or something equivalent (in many in 
stances a wash-basin or old vegetable dish). 
Some brought spoons, but the majority were 
content with their fingers. Mr. Lewis, Mr. Silvey 
and I did the helping, while some of the women 
and big boys waited. You should have heard 
the noise ! When they had eaten as much as 



they could, each one received a toy, and they 
were sent out to play. Meanwhile we cleared 
up the fragments and came home to rest and 
have dinner. After dinner we went out to join 
their games, and were soon hard at work. The 
play included races, racing in sacks, blind-man s- 
buff, round the mulberry bush, orange and lemons, 
&c. You may imagine that it was rather hot 
work. Then about five o clock we set them 
scrambling for sweets and nuts, and having 
given to each one a packet of sweets, we came 
in to our tea. After tea, as soon as it was dark, 
the magic-lantern sheet was put up, outside the 
big house, and Mr. Lewis showed the pictures 
to a very large audience. Indeed, most of the 
townspeople turned out. They behaved very well, 
and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition. When 
the pictures were finished we sang, " I think when 
I read that sweet story of old," which was thrown 
upon the screen, and so brought to an end a 
very pleasant, though very tiring day. Every 
thing went off well, and those concerned departed 
having thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Of course 
all the other treats are stopped by this horrid 
fighting ; but I am glad we held ours when we 
did. 



"December 

"I have written the latter part of this letter 
separately, so that you may lend it. Mr. Lewis 
and Mr. Silvey are writing to Mr. Baynes so that 
he will know all about the trouble. I should be 
glad if you could copy my account and send it 
to Mrs. Seymour. 



" A little branch steamer has just come up the 
river, and will take letters early to-morrow 
morning. The Benguela came to the Bar a few 
days ago, but could not get up river on account 
of the fighting. I am so disappointed at getting 
no Christmas letters, and so are we all. We hear 
that the English Consul and a British man-of-war 
are coming to-morrow. The pilot has gone down 
to bring her up. I hope the Germans will have 
to pay for what they have done. Our people are 
all in panic, and are running away as fast as 
they can, some to Victoria and others to the bush. 
Half the town is deserted. 

" I shall be thinking of you all to-morrow. Of 
course Mr. Silvey, Mr. Lewis, and I are going to 
spend the day together. We have had a goat 
killed, and I shall have one of Morton s puddings. 
I would have made one but we cannot get suet, 
and eggs are very scarce just now. If all is well, 
we shall have a merry evening with our house- 
children. But I expect there will be great excite 
ment as soon as the Consul comes, so I cannot 
really tell what we shall do. You must please 
give my love to my sister, and to any kind friends 
who may ask after me. I am sure they will excuse 
my not writing when they hear the cause. 

" Yesterday we went to Bell Town. It is a com 
plete ruin, and not a person was to be seen. 
Hickory is even worse, I believe, if that be possible. 
Well, I must finish now as it is bedtime. And 
with very much love to all, 

"I am, 

" Yours lovingly, ^ 

" GWEN." 



AND A SURFEIT OF ADVENTURES 63 

" PS. I forgot to say that I am quite well ; 
never felt better in my life. If you should see 
Miss Saker, please tell her all, as I cannot write 
to her now. I do not understand not hearing 
from any of you by this mail. I only had two 
letters, one from Miss Saker, and one from Miss 
Phillips. I did want some Christmas letters. I 
suppose I shall not get them now for another 
month, and we are all in the same box. 

" I am sure if any of you want adventures, you 
had better come to Africa. I have had enough 
in eight months to last for some time." 



ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES. 1885 

AT this period a strong friendship was formed 
between Mr. Lewis and Miss Thomas which 
made for joy and strength in both their lives. 
It could hardly have been otherwise. They were 
kindred spirits and were much thrown together in 
experiences which taxed and tested the best that 
was in them ; and each was conscious that the 
other had endured the testing well. Labour, sick 
ness, peril had proved them, under intimate mutual 
observation, to be tireless in service, patient in 
pain, and endowed with high courage. Compelled 
by the exigencies of their lot, they had in turn 
nursed each other through long days and nights 
of heavy sickness, when the angel of death seemed 
to hover at the door in indecision. They had 
passed through scenes of panic without display of 
fear. In tedious hours of convalescence they had 
exchanged confidences ; the woman had spoken of 
her dear transfigured sorrow, and the man had 
spoken of those tender hopes which, in the winter 
of desolation, made music of spring within his 
heart. So they became as brother and sister, and 
enjoyed high friendship, serene and unperplexed 

64 



ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 65 

by such sentiment as the order of their lives dis 
allowed. That this is all true is amply proved by 
the joyous, sisterly interest which Miss Thomas 
took in the anticipations of Mr. Lewis s marriage, 
by her part in the celebration of the event, and by 
her unfeigned sorrow in the pathetic sequel ; all 
which things her letters most artlessly record. 

But in addition to her high spirits, sober saint- 
liness, and heroic courage, Miss Thomas was 
endowed with a full share of common sense. She 
was woman of the world enough to be aware that 
a young wife might not regard with perfect com 
placency such close comradeship as she and Mr. 
Lewis had enjoyed, and wisely prepared herself 
for some diminution of friendly intercourse, with 
ensuing access of loneliness. Happily this forecast 
of worldly wisdom was proved to be superfluous. 
Of course Miss Phillips had heard all about the 
friendship, and when she came, in the trustfulness 
of perfect love which casteth out fear, she straight 
way took Miss Thomas to her heart, claimed her 
as a sister, and enriched her life with that mystic 
gold which is incorruptible, getting back as much 
again in sweet commerce which flourished more 
and more through all the hurrying days of their 
brief friendship, even until its latest hour. This 
also Miss Thomas has movingly set down, as will 
presently appear. 

It must be confessed that this chapter is con 
cerned with other matters than a wedding and 
a funeral, but at this stage these two events have 
assumed a certain dominant interest in my mind, 
as the title indicates, and herein I expect to secure 
the sympathy of the reader. 

Englishwoman in Africa 6 



66 ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 

The events recorded in the previous chapter 
had left the future of the English Mission at the 
Cameroons in grave uncertainty. Meanwhile the 
Baptist Missionary Society made representations 
to the German Government, protesting against the 
arbitrary and unjust behaviour of its agents, and 
demanding compensation for the destruction of 
its property ; which compensation was never 
received. Pending unknown providential issues 
the work was continued as far as possible on the 
old lines. In January, 1885, Mr. Silvey returned 
to England, and Mr. Lewis and Miss Thomas were 
left alone in charge of the Mission at Bethel 
Station. Mr. Silvey was sorely missed, especially 
in the educational work. He had proved, as Miss 
Thomas testifies, " a capital schoolmaster," and 
his departure necessitated new arrangements 
which added to her burdens. She took charge 
of his school, besides her own three classes. John 
Diboll, one of the native teachers, managed the 
Lower School, and Alfred Bell, the Infants. Miss 
Thomas ascribes her slow progress in Dualla to 
the fact that all her teaching was done in English. 
This pleased the people well, who were eager to 
obtain efficiency in the use of our tongue, and 
had complained that Miss Saker taught in Dualla. 
Miss Thomas wishes that she were able to incur 
the same criticism. 

In a letter to Mrs. Hartland, which Mr. Silvey 
carried with him and posted in England, Miss 
Thomas writes : " It seems ages since I left 
England. I feel as though I had been in Africa 
all my life ; and it is not so strange as I antici 
pated. I suppose and hope that our next excite- 



ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 67 

merit will be the arrival of Miss Phillips. I hear 
that Mrs. Lyall is coming with her, to see her 
husband s grave, and then is going to labour as a 
missionary [at Calabar]." 

The hoped-for excitement was long delayed. 
At the end of March Miss Thomas wrote again 
to Mrs. Hartland : " Mr. Lewis tells me to send 
his love to you, we often talk about you and 
about dear John, and he tells me all about his 
intended. Poor man, he will be disappointed 
this mail again, for we hear she is not coming 
out until the next. It really is too bad as there 
have been plenty of opportunities lately. He 
says I cheer him up. I do my best, and he is not 
low-spirited at all. But it is very trying for him, 
and for her too. We have just had a visit from 
Mr. and Mrs. Hay. They came quite unexpectedly 
on their way back from Calabar, and stayed from 
Friday till Tuesday. They were both fairly well. 
... I am wondering whom you will get for 
pastor. How strange it must seem without dear 
Mr. Tucker ! Give him my love if you ever see 
him." 

Late in April Miss Thomas records that she has 
been suffering from bilious fevers, and her friends 
must not be surprised by news of her return. 
Change is recommended, but she feels, in the 
circumstances of the Mission, it would be absurd 
to incur the expense of a trip south. The coming 
of the wet season, however, has brought hope of 
better health. Mr. Lewis has also suffered much 
from fever, but has patched himself up by going 
out in his boat. They are growing weary of 
awaiting the arrival of Miss Phillips and Mr. 



68 ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 

Fuller. If she does not come soon, it will scarcely 
be worth while for her to come at all, as Mr. 
Lewis s return cannot be long postponed. Mean 
while they are both reasonably well, but the school 
work has suffered damage through their illness. 
Some Victoria people, arriving from the Congo, 
have brought the heavy news that three more 
missionaries have succumbed, and Miss Thomas 
wonders whether these casualties are due to the 
deadliness of the climate or to want of due care 
on the part of the victims. The letter con 
tinues : 

" The Sunday before last we had a baptism of 
nine converts here. I was so sorry to be in bed 
and unable to be present at the service. The 
work is very promising, I think, especially con 
sidering the many drawbacks it has had to con 
tend with. Whatever society comes here after 
us will have a fine field to work in. Sometimes 
I can t help wondering if it would not have been 
better to develope the work from here, with a 
good base station ready established, and native 
teachers to hand, than to begin the new work 
on the Congo. But, however, that is done, and 
I suppose the days of this Mission are numbered, 
as far as we are concerned." 

On May 13th Mr. Lewis wrote to Mrs. Hartland, 
at the request of Miss Thomas, to explain her 
own silence. She is recovering from another 
severe attack of bilious fever. When she fell ill 
Mr. Lewis was himself in bed ; but the next day 
he was able to attend her. She is better, but not 
well enough to write. He proceeds : " We are 
now looking forward to the arrival of Mr. and 



ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 69 

Mrs. Fuller, and I venture to hope that Miss 
Phillips will accompany them. We have had no 
definite news. 

"You will have heard of the death of Mrs. 
Buckenham of Fernando Po. Mr. Buckenham 
brought her here on board the Volta three weeks 
ago, hoping she would get better. She could not 
come ashore, and died on the ship. Her remains 
are now lying in our graveyard, where she was 
buried the next day. Poor Mr. Buckenham has 
gone home in the Benguela. Things here are 
much as usual. The Germans are fairly quiet ; 
but the natives are profoundly unsettled, and we 
do not know what they will do. A large number 
of them are in the bush ; the rainy season is 
coming on, and they will be homeless. This 
is hard. 

" We heard from Victoria yesterday, and the 
friends there are well. It is very evident that 
the Committee intend to relinquish this Mission. 
It is a great pity, and yet I believe it to be the 
best course. I have heard that the authorities 
are going to compel the teaching of German in 
our schools. I confess I would rather leave at 
once than Germanise these people. However, we 
trust that all will be for the best in the end." 

The year wore on with its round of duties 
varied by intervals of suffering school-work, 
nursing, fevers and the long-looked-for arrival 
of Miss Phillips was still in anticipation. At the 
end of August, however, it was known at Came- 
roons that she had sailed in the Lualaba, accom 
panied, not by Mr. and Mrs. Fuller, but by Mr. 
Comber, and a band of young missionaries, includ- 



70 ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 

ing his own brother Percy, whom he was joyously 
convoying to the Congo. And here I must 
interrupt the story for a moment to introduce 
the following significant little letter. It was 
addressed by Miss Thomas to her three nieces, 
the daughters of her sister, Mrs. Percival. 

"BETHEL STATION, CAMEROONS. 

"August 29, 1885. 

"MY DEAR ETHEL, EVA AND BEATRICE, I have 
written to Ethel already, but when I received 
your mother s letter, with the good news it con 
tained, I felt I must write to you, if only a few 
lines, to tell you how very glad I am to hear 
that all three of you have learnt to love the dear 
Saviour, and have come forward to confess His 
Name. Although I am so far from you, you may 
be sure I often think of you and pray for you, 
and I am so glad that you have chosen the right 
way thus early, and that all your lives will be given 
to His service. I hope that you will all become 
very useful Christians, and that each of you will 
in time find some direct work to do for the 
Master. But after all I feel more and more con 
vinced that it is in the little things of everyday 
life we can best show our love to Him. 

" That He may bless you all and keep you very 
near Himself, is the earnest prayer of 

"Your loving aunt, 

GWENNIE." 

" The excitement " which was looked for as 
imminent in January came in September. On 
the 10th news was received in Cameroons that 



ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 71 

the Lualaba was due at Calabar some few days 
later. For the rest of this chapter I leave the 
narrative to Miss Thomas, who shall tell, in her 
own words, of the burst of happy sunshine, and 
of its sudden dire eclipse, assured that her artless 
recital of the happenings, written only for the 
loving eyes of friends, with no faintest dream of 
publication, will be immeasurably more affecting 
than any studied treatment of my own. 

On September 14th Miss Thomas sat down in 
the Mission House at Old Calabar and com 
menced a letter to Mrs. Hartland, accounting at 
the outset for her new address : 

" On Friday morning (this is Tuesday) the Loanda 
came into Cameroons with our mails, which in 
cluded a letter from Mr. Comber telling Mr. Lewis 
that he was to meet Miss Phillips here. Their ship 
would arrive on Monday, so the only course open 
to him was to start off by the Loanda. He was 
worried about leaving me alone, as the time of 
return was uncertain, so I decided to accompany 
him and get a change. The steamer was timed 
to start on Saturday, but fortunately waited unti 
Sunday morning, for we had invited John Pinnock 
for the wedding, and arriving on Saturday night 
he was able to come with us. We started early on 
Sunday morning, and as we were all seasick no 
one of us could laugh at the others. In the after 
noon we reached Fernando Po, and went on shore 
to see Mr. and Mrs. Welford, who have taken the 
Buckenhams place there. The Spanish authorities 
are most arbitrary. We found that they had put 
Mr. Welford in prison, and that poor Mrs. Welford 
was sick. Of course she was delighted to see me 



72 ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 

and I stayed with her while Mr. Lewis and John 
obtained permission and went to visit her 
husband." 

" October 2nd. [Bethel Station, Cameroons.j So 
much has happened since I wrote the above, which 
you will like to hear, that I think I must send you 
a kind of diary, which you must please allow my 
sister, and any other interested friends, to read, as 
I cannot write it twice. Well, just after I had 
written the piece above we heard the Kroo-boys 
shouting, and knew that the Lualaba was coming 
up the river. [At Old Calabar on September 14th.] 
We rushed over to the Ludwigs to tell them, then 
returned, took a hurried meal, and as a storm was 
coming on got into thick dresses and mackintoshes 
and made haste down to the beach, where the 
others were waiting for us. Very soon we were 
on board the Lualaba. Mr. Lewis made his way to 
the ladies cabin, while I was receiving very warm 
greetings from Tom and Percy Comber. Then I 
was introduced to the others, and was very pleased 
to see such a nice band of young men, for they all 
seem nice. I do trust they may have good health. 
Then I went in to see Miss Phillips, with whom 
I felt at home immediately. We all went on shore 
together, took tea, inspected the Mission premises, 
and called on Mrs. Beadie, who was ill. We finished 
up the evening at Mrs. Ludwig s. Miss Phillips 
stayed with me, and we slept together. Unfor 
tunately I got fever in the night, which put an end 
to my going about. The next day we were to visit 
Creek Town, but Mrs. Lyall very kindly remained 
at home to look after me, and the next day also. 

"I was much amused to have all the young 



ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 73 

missionaries coming in to see what African fever 
was like. Of course Percy was as playful as ever, 
and wanted to take my temperature about every 
half-hour. On Friday morning I was a little 
better, but still in bed, and the Redland, a small 
steamer, was timed to start for the Cameroons. So 
there was a grand discussion as to what was to be 
done with me. Mr. Lewis could not remain away 
any longer, but we did not like Miss Phillips to go 
on alone with him and John Pinnock, knowing 
what a place this is for talk. I begged to be 
allowed to return with them, so Mr. Lewis sent for 
Mr. Comber, and left him to decide. At first he 
would not hear of my going, but ultimately it was 
settled that I should do so, as Mrs. Lyall was 
willing to go too. So I was carried down to the 
beach in a hammock, Mr. Comber coming to see us 
off. At night a tornado broke upon us and Mrs. 
Lyall and I were very seasick. Miss Phillips kept 
well, and by the time we reached Cameroons we 
were all right. I have had no fever since. 

" We received a very warm welcome from the 
people, who were full of curiosity to see Mrs. 
Lewis. The next day was Sunday, and we rested 
quietly. On Monday Mr. Lewis went to make 
arrangements for the wedding, which had been 
fixed for the following day, but found that accord 
ing to the German law three days notice must be 
given to all the white residents, which necessitated 
the postponement of the event until Saturday. . . . 
On Tuesday we all went to the Governor s, as 
we were to be witnesses of the marriage. The 
authorities are very particular. Mrs. Lyall had to 
declare that she knew Miss Phillips had been sent 



74 ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 

out by the Society, and we were minutely ques 
tioned as to our names, ages, birthplaces, profes 
sions, and so on. 

" On Wednesday we gave all our house children 
(and ourselves too) a treat by taking them for 
a picnic to Didumbari beach." 

There follows an account of the picnic, piquant 
and diverting enough, but too long to be inserted 
here. Thursday was a quiet day, but on Friday 
everybody concerned was cumbered with much 
serving in preparation for the long-looked-for 
rejoicing. The narrative continues : 

" We were determined to have as nice and 
home-like a wedding as was possible in our cir 
cumstances. To avoid work upon the day a 
cold breakfast was arranged. On Saturday the 
weather was most kind. The sun shone brightly, 
and everything looked beautiful. The marriage 
took place at Bethel Chapel at half-past nine. 
Miss Phillips, who looked charming in her bridal 
attire, wore a cream satin dress, very simply 
made, and a white hat trimmed with lace. A 
long spray of real orange-blossom encircled her 
neck, and she carried a bouquet of blue and white 
flowers culled from our garden. I wore my em 
broidered tussore, with the hat you sent out ; and 
Mrs. Lyall, who acted as mother and gave her 
away, a thin black silk, with hat to match. The 
children all had new dresses, and each carried a 
new handkerchief, in which was tied up as much 
rice as it would hold. John performed the cere 
mony, and all the way home the happy pair were 
well pelted with rice. The breakfast was laid in 
my house, and the table really looked quite pretty 



ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 75 

with abundance of flowers, and the cake, decorated 
with ferns, which Mrs. Lyall had brought with her. 

" Later in the day we went off in the boat to 
attend the civil marriage, and you would have 
laughed to see the undignified manner in which 
the bride and bride s-maids secured their places. 
The tide was far out, and we were handed about 
from one man to another as if we were babies 
in long clothes. We called for Dr. Allen on our 
way, as he was to be one of the witnesses. When 
we arrived at Government House, we found the 
Governor (Baron Von Soden) and his secretary 
awaiting us in full uniform. We sat round a 
table, and when all the recorded particulars had 
been read over the bride and bridegroom were 
required to answer the question whether they 
really intended to contract matrimony by a 
loud and distinct " yes ". Thereupon the Governor 
pronounced them to be husbands together, which 
very nearly upset my gravity. He was trans 
lating as he went along. After the business was 
over, we were invited into the piazza, and the 
Governor brought out champagne to drink their 
healths. 

" When our boat had started out for the 
marriage, the German House hoisted all their 
flags, an example which all the other traders 
followed, so that as we returned the river was 
gay with bunting, and all the flags were dipped 
in salute, before being taken down. I thought 
this very nice. Great interest was being shown 
in consequence of this being the first marriage 
of a white man in the river. The Germans were 
specially pleased that it was solemnised by 



76 ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 

German law. In coming back we had our single 
misfortune. One of the Kroo-boys who was 
carrying Mrs. Lyall slipped and dropped her 
into the water. Happily she took no harm, and 
only had to change her clothes and iron out her 
dress. Dr. Allen came to tea. Later we all went 
into the big house, and after supper and a chat 
Mrs. Lyall and I came back, leaving the bride in 
her new home. John Pinnock had to start for 
Victoria in the afternoon. 

" Mrs. Lewis is so jolly and nice, I wish you had 
seen her. Mrs. Lyall returned to Calabar on 
Monday. She was much pleased with the Mission 
here and enjoyed her stay greatly. She said that 
prior to coming here she had not had a laugh 
since she came to Africa. She had plenty here, 
for we are a very merry party, I assure you. 
Since the wedding, we have settled down. I 
began school again on Tuesday. Last week we 
gave holiday in honour of the great event. Things 
are very happy here now, and we are just like 
one family. I go into the next house for dinner, 
and we always have tea together, taking turns. 
I am so glad Mrs. Lewis is so nice, for Mr. Lewis 
and I are exactly like brother and sister, and now 
I seem to have a sister, too. I have been wonder 
fully fortunate in having such kind friends, so 
that really I never feel ^lonely. . . . Two of my 
girls have gone to Mrs. Lewis. I have taken two 
new ones, and another is to come on Saturday. 
I really cannot take any more, as that will make 
fourteen. I wish I had a bigger house and room 
for a lot more. Many are begging to come. I 
was so glad to hear of you all from Tom Comber, 



ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 77 

but so sorry to hear that dear Mr. Tucker has 
lost his wife. He will miss her dreadfully. They 
always seemed so fond of each other. I think 
I must finish up now, with heaps of love to Lily, 
Alice, Mr. Hartland and yourself, from 

" Yours lovingly, 

" GWEN." 

Before the honeymoon was over the young 
bride had passed on to the Father s house, with 
its many mansions, and its prepared place. 

On October 27th Miss Thomas wrote again to 
Mrs. Hartland : " This letter I mean for my 
sister as well. I cannot write all I wish to say 
twice over. I hardly know how to tell you the 
news, it is so sad, so sudden, so unexpected. Dear 
Mrs. Lewis has gone to a better home than that 
which we had prepared for her. She passed away 
at about 5 p.m. this day week, Tuesday, 20th. 
I told you in my last letter how bright and merry 
she was, and how pleased with everything. We 
were so happy all together, just like one family. 
Breakfast was the only meal we took separately. 
I was as a sister to them in everything, and we 
were making plans for future work, so that we 
might not be separated. But as Grenfell said 
about dear John, man proposes, but God dis 
poses, and His ways are not our ways. Janie 
seemed so suitable to be a missionary s wife, and 
was just getting into our African ways, beginning 
to understand the children in the house, taking a 
class in the Sunday School, coining to school once 
in the week with me, and helping me with the 
sewing at home. 



78 ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 

" On Saturday, 17th, we went up the river to 
Jibarri with Mr. Lewis and Dibundu, who, after 
examining six candidates, baptized them in the 
river. We then sat down to the Lord s Supper 
together. I do not think I ever enjoyed that 
solemn service more, although it was conducted 
in Dualla. It was so simple. There were only 
twenty-six present, in all ; no communion plate, 
but just the common things we had with us. It 
was indeed a happy, holy time. And that was 
the last meal we took together. 

" When we returned home I went to get tea, and 
coming back in a few minutes found Mrs. Lewis in 
fever. Of course I took her into her own house 
at once, and put her to bed in blankets ; and from 
that time, until she died, she was never left with 
out her husband or me. On Sunday her tem 
perature fell to 101, but rose later, and we could 
not bring it down again. . . . Still we were not 
alarmed, for the first fever is often very severe, as 
my own experience had proved. She had a bad 
night on Monday, and spoke then about dying, but 
on Tuesday morning seemed better. About 1 p.m. 
John Pinnock arrived unexpectedly from Victoria. 
She was so pleased to see him, and after talking 
a little said she thought she could sleep if we 
would all leave her, which we did. But very soon 
she felt the fever coming on again, and called her 
husband, and he put her into blankets. After 
dinner I went to sit with her, and about half -past 
three she said : Gwen, I wish you would call Tom. 
I started to do so, but came back and said : Are 
you getting low-hearted ? She said : No, but I 
don t think I shall get over this, do you ? I told 



ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 79 

her that I really thought she might, but would let 
her know if I came to think otherwise. Where 
upon she said : Very well, I won t worry Tom 
by telling him. However, I took her temperature, 
and finding it to be 106 8, I called Mr. Lewis, and 
told him what she had said. I then went to get 
her a cup of tea, and left them together. 

" After my return she said : I should have liked 
to live for your sake, Tom, and for mother and 
Katie, but I am not afraid and shall be happier 
there She also said : You will give Gwen my 
wedding brooch, won t you ? Soon after she 
became delirious, but still recognised us, turning 
from one to the other, and calling us by name. 
Just then Dr. Allen came to the beach, and she fell 
into a kind of coma, but \vhile I had gone to meet 
him she roused again and said a few precious 
words to her husband. When we came into the 
room she was quite unconscious. Everything 
possible was done, but all was unavailing, and she 
passed away at five o clock. Dr. Allen, who was 
very kind and attentive, says he never knew of 
such a case before. . . . She was very anxious that 
the friends at home should know that she had 
been so happy, and never regretted coming to 
Africa. 

" We buried her the next morning, John Pinnock 
officiating, as he had done at the wedding three 
weeks earlier. His coming was providential. I 
think he was sent, for there was nothing very 
special to bring him, and his presence was a great 
comfort just then. We put the orange-blossoms 
in her coffin, and made a wreath from our garden. 
Afterwards, one of the German traders sent a 



80 ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 

beautiful wreath for the grave. We had a simple 
service in the chapel, which began with the singing 
of "Rock of Ages." Then John read parts of 
1 Cor. xv., and Rev. vii., and offered prayer. After 
this the first class schoolboys carried her to the 
grave, and we sang, Hear what the voice from 
heaven proclaims. Then John concluded with 
prayer, and we left her to rest beside Mrs. 
Buckenham. 

" It all seems like a dream. Her poor husband ! 
It is terrible for him, but he bears it so bravely 
and patiently. I never knew any one else so 
patient. I am very thankful to have been here. 
We have been packing some of her things to send 
home. Many of her presents had been scarcely 
looked at, and most of her dresses were never 
worn. I feel so for her friends at home. This 
is the second child they have lost abroad, and she 
was very anxious about her mother s health. I 
know how you will all sympathise with them and 
with us here. It has brought back so vividly 
to me all the sad time when dear John died. 
... I had grown so fond of her, and she was 
so kind to me. She brought me a beautiful little 
present, always called Mr. Lewis my brother ; 
and however much we had been together in the 
daytime, they never failed to walk in about eight 
o clock, saying, We have come to say good-night 
to our sister. You will understand what a blow 
this has been to me, yet I am thankful to be 
keeping so well. 

" I can t think what they are going to do about 
sending some one to relieve us. Mr. Silvey does 
not mention returning, and Mr. Fuller says he sees 



ORANGE BLOSSOMS AND IMMORTELLES 81 

no hope of it yet. Mr. Lewis will have been out 
three years in February, and has written saying 
he wishes to go home ; and although I am anxious 
to remain as long as possible, I do not think it 
would be wise to stay too long, as I have had so 
many shocks since I came. Do not be too anxious 
about me, dears. I really take every care, and try 
to do my work quietly, having quite given 
up the rushing-about system, and in spite of 
everything am happy and content. I know you 
will pray for us that we may be strengthened and 
helped in the work here, and for poor Mr. Lewis 
that God may continue to help and comfort him." 



Englishwoman in Africa 



CHAPTER V 

RETURN, MARRIAGE, AND JOURNEY TO CONGO. 

1885-1887 

NO woman could pass through such experiences 
as had befallen Miss Thomas in Africa with 
out incurring physical and mental strain which 
would render a prolonged stay perilous to life. 
Her recall was wisely determined upon, and in the 
middle of November she wrote to Mrs. Hartland 
of her return as decreed and imminent. On 
January 12, 1886, Mrs. Hartland wrote to Mr. 
Baynes requesting to be informed of the date 
of Miss Thomas s arrival. Mr. Baynes was absent 
in Liverpool, but immediately upon his return 
replied that he had made inquiries of the secretary 
of the African Mail Company, and learned that the 
Ambriz had been telegraphed from Madeira, " All 
well," but would not be in Liverpool for another 
week. Mr. Baynes also acknowledged the receipt 
of a letter from Mr. Lewis, enclosed by Mrs. 
Hartland, conveying the sad news of the death 
of Mrs. Wright Hay (formerly Miss Comber), 
following the birth of her child. It was the first 
intimation which had reached the Mission House, 
and Mr. Baynes says : " My colleague, Mr. Myers, 

83 



RETURN AND MARRIAGE 83 

communicated the sad intelligence to Mr. Comber 
within an hour of the receipt of your letter." He 
adds : " May the Lord comfort and sustain Mr. 
Hay, and the sorrow-stricken family at home." 

Upon her return to England Miss Thomas com 
menced to keep a diary, as thousands of other 
young women have done at certain interesting 
periods of their lives. The note of distinction in 
her case is, that she continued to do what she had 
resolved to do. So it comes to pass that I have 
nearly a score of volumes of her journals about 
me as I write. The diary commences with the 
following entry : 

" Sunday, January 24th. Arrived at Liverpool. 
Came to London by 11.30 train. Got to Hartland s 
about five o clock. Stayed all night. Had bilious 
attack. E. Jane [her sister, Mrs. Percival] and the 
children came to see me. They all look well." 

The first entry is typical, and for a year or two 
the diary amounts to no more than the barest 
indication of daily engagements. Sometimes the 
record is a single word, as, for instance, " Indoors." 
Indeed, there were many days upon which the 
" awful cold " of the London winter made going 
out impracticable for one who had just come from 
the tropics. In later years the little pocket diary 
was succeeded by a bulkier volume, and the account 
of the day s proceedings was more extended. 

It was at this time that I became acquainted 
with Miss Thomas, and the reader will appreciate 
the touch of anxiety with which I turned to the 
next Sunday s record, expecting to find some hint 
of her impressions of the new minister. For it 
was only two months earlier that I had succeeded 



84 RETURN, MARRIAGE, AND 

the Rev. Francis Tucker, whom she loved so well, 
in the pastorate of Camden Road Church. Our 
friendship grew with the years, but I am grateful 
to know that my friend thought kindly of me 
from the first. 

" Sunday, January 31st. Went to Camden in 
the morning. Heard Mr. Hawker. Like him very 
much. Emma came in the afternoon, and Alice H. 
[Hartland] came to supper." 

Mrs. Percival s residence, in which Miss Thomas 
found her temporary home, was but little distant 
from the church, and she attended many meetings 
and paid and received many visits, in which former 
associations were renewed and old friendships 
deepened. At an early date Miss Saker called 
and remained until the next day. The journal 
credibly relates that the writer and her guest 
"kept awake talking for long time." In March 
Miss Thomas received a proposal of marriage, by 
letter. Her answer, declining it, was written on 
the morrow. During the spring and summer she 
frequently visited at her uncle s house in Harrow, 
and once or twice made a lengthened stay. In 
April she went to Haverfordwest, to be the dear 
and welcome guest of Mr. and Mrs. Phillips, the 
parents of the late Mrs. Lewis ; and while she 
was there Mr. Lewis arrived. The happiness of 
her visit to Wales was marred by illness. Both 
guests suffered from serious attacks of African 
fever, but were tenderly cared for by the friends 
of the girl-bride, whose passing away had involved 
them all in one great common sorrow. For Miss 
Thomas the visit lasted three weeks. 

Thereafter the references to Mr. Lewis in the 



JOURNEY TO CONGO 85 

journal are more frequent. For some time, and 
throughout the May Meetings, which the two 
friends attended with keen interest, Mr. Lewis 
remains " Mr. Lewis." But before " the merrie 
month " is over the entries give a hint of new 
conditions, as significant as the change of pro 
nouns in the Acts of the Apostles. On Sunday 
night Miss Thomas attends Camden Road Church 
accompanied by "Mr. Lewis." On Monday morn 
ing she meets " Tom " at the Mission House, and 
thereafter "Mr. Lewis" is dropped in favour of 
" Tom." If Mr. Lewis were in London instead 
of in Kimpese, I should endeavour to persuade 
him to aid me in increasing the interest of this 
page. As it is, I am constrained to depend upon 
the diary, and turning over the pages I find the 
following pertinent records : 

" Sunday, July 4th. Went to chapel twice. Com 
munion in the evening. Stayed at Hartlands . 
Told them about Tom and me." 

" Sunday, July 25th. Went to the parish church 

[Harrow] in the morning. Bishop of G preached. 

Very poor sermon. Katie and Dora came to tea. 
I told them of my engagement." 

" Tuesday, August 10th. Tom saw Mr. Baynes. 
So glad he approves." 

Early in the year Miss Thomas arranged for 
a short course of practical study at the Zenana 
Medical Home (or College) in St. George s, E., of 
which Dr. Griffiths was principal. She went into 
residence in May, sharing a room with Miss Saker, 
and on Tuesday, May 25th, reported attending her 
first case. Her engagements at the Home per 
mitted considerable freedom of movement, and 



86 RETURN, MARRIAGE, AND 

she continued to visit friends and attend services 
at Camden Road, Spurgeon s Tabernacle, and else 
where. 

Affectionate solicitude for her friend Mrs. Sey 
mour occupied much of her time and involved 
many journeys across London. Mr. Seymour s 
health had been broken for some years, and in 
the middle of May he died. His wife s case was 
rendered the more pathetic by the fact that she 
was shortly expecting the birth of her third child. 
Miss Thomas was with her friend when this event 
occurred, some six weeks later, and it is not sur 
prising that an early friendship, deepened by this 
passage through the Vale of Tears, held to the 
end. Miss Thomas s letters to Mrs. Seymour 
who, later, became Mrs. W. C. Parkinson would 
alone have supplied ample material for a biography. 

The engagement to Mr. Lewis gave the greatest 
satisfaction to many of her friends, and the late 
summer brought happy relaxations, including a 
stay at Deal. The Autumn Meetings of the 
Baptist Missionary Society were held in Bristol, 
and Miss Thomas and Mr. Lewis were required to 
be present, that, with other outgoing missionaries, 
they might have part in the valedictory service. 
For by this time it had been arranged that after 
their marriage Mr. Lewis and his bride would 
proceed to the Congo. In a letter written to Miss 
Lily Hartland from York, where she was paying 
a visit to her cousin, Miss Thomas gives a lively 
account of her Bristol experiences, and the story 
of her first day may be quoted : 

" We arrived at noon on Tuesday, went straight 
to Broadmead Chapel, left our luggage in the 



JOURNEY TO CONGO 87 

cloak-room there, and thence proceeded to get 
some dinner, meeting a good many Welsh 
friends on the way. As the afternoon sermon 
was to be preached in Tyndale Chapel, we set 
out to find it. Bristol is built on seven hills. One 
of these, Clifton, seems to be the swell part of 
the town, and we found that Tyndale Chapel (Mr. 
Glover s) is at the top of it. We got there long 
before the time of service, sat down against the 
railings, and studied the map to discover the 
whereabouts of our respective places of abode. 
Happily they were both fairly near, but a long 
way from Broadmead, where our luggage was left. 
While waiting outside, we met Mr. Phillips, who 
was very glad to see us, and came in with us to 
the service. The sermon, by Mr. Oswald Dykes, 
was very good ; but I was rather too sleepy to 
appreciate it duly, for the chapel was packed to 
excess ; pouring rain came on in the middle, and 
it became so dark that the gas had to be lighted. 
Mr. Ross sat in the same pew with us, and on 
coming out introduced me to his wife, whom we 
met several times after ; she does seem nice. 

"Outside, our problem was how to meet Mrs. 
Robinson. I heard afterwards that Mr. Baynes 
was shouting for me from the platform ; but he 
was too late. However, we met Mr. Brown, who 
undertook to be my guide, while Tom raced down 
to send up the luggage. We met Mrs. Robinson 
with Mrs. Frank Smith just outside the house. 
The Robinsons are such nice people, evidently rich, 
but so very kind and friendly. 

" After tea we drove down to the Colston Hall. 
Rain was still pouring. As Mr. Baynes wished me 



88 RETURN, MARRIAGE, AND 

to sit on the platform, I had to go to the Commit 
tee-room. Being the only lady, I felt rather odd, 
especially as we filed on to the platform in Exeter 
Hall style. Colston Hall is an immense place, and 
was crowded as tight as could be. You will read 
the speeches, so that I need not report them. The 
meeting was most solemn, most of all Dr. Mac- 
laren s address, which I shall never forget. I was 
so thankful that, though I was tired, for the day 
had been a very long and exciting one, I was quite 
well and had no headache." 



The valedictory meetings of the Baptist Mis 
sionary Society have long been remarkable for 
their impressiveness. The meeting at Bristol re 
mains among the most remarkable. I was present, 
and have no doubt that its influence would count 
as a constant inspiration in the lives of the 
departing missionaries. The valedictory address, 
delivered by Dr. Maclaren, which Mrs. Lewis 
affirmed that she would never forget, was a 
great utterance. The speaker had reached, but 
had not passed, the zenith of his powers. The 
occasion appealed to him, and commanded all the 
resources of his genius and intensity. One sentence 
only I could quote from memory : " If you want 
to drive a pointed piece of iron through a thick 
board, the surest way to do it is to heat your 
skewer." The pronunciation of the word " skewer" 
was as extraordinary as the choice of it, and half 
achieved the miracle of changing a mere vocable 
into a thing of iron, pointed and red-hot. 

I have read over again the printed report of the 



JOURNEY TO CONGO 89 

address, and have felt over again the thrilling 
force imparted to its periods by " the sound of a 
voice that is still." The points were : " Have 
ever clear before you the ultimate object of your 
work " ; " Be enthusiasts " ; " Cherish a boundless 
hope in the possibilities of your work " ; " Live in 
close communion with your Lord." The hearing 
of such an address in an emotional hour is a 
biographical incident of first-rate importance, and 
I hold that I shall be minding my own business in 
reproducing its opening and closing passages. 

" Dear Brethren and Sisters, you are here this 
evening probably never to meet again till you give 
an account of your stewardship. A momentary 
association in this hall will be followed by a wide 
separation to strangely different conditions of 
work. As Rome s eagles parted at the city gates 
to march east, west, north, and south, pushing 
forward in every quarter the boundaries of the 
Empire, you go forth to bear the dove of peace 
farther than Rome s eagles ever flew. . . . 

" And now, dear friends, the languages of many 
nations have different forms of leave-taking. We 
would say to you with the Hebrew, Peace be unto 
you, the peace of conscious communion, t>he calm 
of a quiet heart, the rest of faith, the tranquillity 
of submission, be ever yours. We would say with 
the Greek, Rejoice with the joy which may 
blossom amidst sorrow, like the blue and delicate 
flowers which blossom on the very edge of the 
glacier the joy which Christ Himself has con 
nected with keeping His commandments, and 
abiding in His love, the joy of the Lord into which 
faithful followers even here may enter. We would 



90 

say with the Roman, Be strong, strong with the 
strength of those who wait upon God, and, there 
fore, mount up with wings as eagles in contempla 
tion, who can run without weariness in occasional 
spurts of severe effort, and can walk without 
fainting along the monotonous dusty road of petty 
duties. We would say in our own familiar English, 
only venturing to put it in its enlarged and proper 
form, God be with you ! May He, whose presence 
makes the solitary place glad as with a sudden 
burst of light, be always with you. May He be 
with you for your wisdom and your success, for 
your shield and exceeding great reward. We wish 
you peace, joy, strength. But our highest wish is 
that which includes them and a whole universe 
besides : Farewell, and God be with you." 



Mr. Lewis and Miss Thomas were married in 
Camden Road Baptist Church, on Wednesday, 
December 1, immediately prior to the opening 
of the Annual Congo Sale. Under normal circum 
stances the Sale, which is something of a festival, 
would have added brightness to the wedding. But 
the sky was overclouded for Sale and wedding. It 
had been arranged, most naturally and happily, 
that the ceremony should be performed by the 
Rev. Francis Tucker, who had been the bride s 
minister from her childhood, and whom she 
regarded with reverent and filial affection. But 
when the wedding-day came his eloquent lips had 
been touched by the great silence, and two days 
later his coffin was carried down the aisle of the 
church in which he had ministered for twenty- 



JOURNEY TO CONGO 91 

seven years, on its way to the grave. So it fell to 
my lot to conduct the marriage service. Of course 
if I had known that twenty-four years later 
I should be writing the biography of the bride, 
I should now be able to supply a reasonably 
interesting account of an hour so momentous 
in the life of my friend. I could not know. I 
have been told that she was married from the 
house of her sister, Mrs. Percival, but all that I 
can recall unaided is, that she was " given away " 
by the Rev. John Jenkyn Brown, of Birmingham, 
and that Mr. Lewis went away in my overcoat. 
His case was worse than mine ; for whereas in his 
coat I had room and to spare, in mine he was in 
straitened circumstances. When he was again cap 
able of observing matters so prosaic, he was prompt 
to repair the blunder. The consequences were not 
serious, but rather the reverse, for the humorous 
reminiscence has many times provoked laughter. 

Perhaps it was well that the event should have 
one touch of humour, for the atmosphere was inevit 
ably sombre. Conscious of my own poverty of 
remembrance, I consulted a friend who would be 
likely to help me. She looked up her diary and 
found the following : " Wedding ; Congo Sale ; 
2.30. The most dismal wedding I was ever at." I 
forbore further quest of detail, and make haste to 
say that if the wedding was " dismal " the union 
which it celebrated was one of rare and radiant 
happiness which remained unclouded till its 
earthly close. 

The first two months of 1887 were busy with 
meetings, journeys, including a tour in South 
Wales, and the usual necessary preparations for 



92 RETURN, MARRIAGE, AND 

a long stay abroad. On Thursday, March 3rd, a 
farewell meeting was held in Camden Road Church, 
and on the following Wednesday, Mr. and Mrs. 
Lewis sailed from Liverpool for the Congo, their 
particular station being as yet undetermined. 



At Old Calabar they found to their great regret 
that they had just missed meeting Mr. and Mrs. 
Grenfell, who had passed them in the ss. Nubia, 
homeward bound. Victoria, and Bethel, Came- 
roons, were also visited. Early in May, Mr. and 
Mrs. Lewis reached Underhill and learned that 
they were to work in San Salvador. Mrs. Lewis 
was disappointed in her first impressions of the 
Congo, the aspect of the country being oppressively 
barren after the luxuriance of the Cameroons. 
She and her husband were also saddened by news 
of more deaths. But they were eager for their 
work, and on May 10th started inland for San 
Salvador. The remainder of this chapter will be 
occupied with Mrs. Lewis s diary of the journey. 

"Tuesday, May 10, 1887. We started from 
Underhill Station at 2.30. Our men were sent on 
before to a town called Vunda, where they were 
to pitch the tent for the night. The caravan 
consisted of thirty-five carriers eight for my 
hammock, six for the hammock used in turn by 
Mr. Phillips and Mr. Lewis, and the rest for loads 
Malevo, who was our interpreter, Mpombolo, who 
was our cook, two personal boys, my Cameroon 
girl Marian, and ourselves. Mr. Scrivener took us 
in a boat to Noki, where we disembarked. I got 
into my hammock and the others followed on foot. 



JOURNEY TO CONGO 93 

We soon reached the bottom of a steep hill, where 
Mr. Scrivener said goodbye, and returned. It was 
dreadful work for the hammock-bearers to get up 
this hill. Most of the time I was nearly perpen 
dicular. They stumbled once but did not let me 
down. The country here is a succession of steep 
and barren hills. 

" We arrived at Vunda about six o clock, just as it 
was getting dark. Here we met another caravan 
from San Salvador with letters from Messrs. Weeks 
and Graham, reporting all well and welcoming us. 
The Underhill boys were sent back, and we went 
on with those from San Salvador. After prayers, 
we retired to bed at eight o clock. The mosquitoes 
were very bad. Mr. Phillips slept in a native 
house. 

"Wednesday, llth. We got up at four-thirty 
and had breakfast in our tent by candle light. 
The morning was very damp, but as I was wrapped 
up for the journey in a waterproof sheet and had 
a waterproof rug for awning, I did not get wet. 
It amuses the people very much to see Mr. Lewis 
lift me into the hammock. The carriers object to 
stooping, so I am lifted in and tucked up in rug 
and rainsheet. Soon after starting we encountered 
a very steep hill, but as the path was wide, I was 
carried up comfortably sideways. On our way we 
passed a market where the people all screamed out 
on seeing me, Mundele ankento (a white woman), 
and were delighted when I pulled back the awning 
and looked out. We reached our next camping- 
place, a little town with a big name, Kingonde 
a miezi, about 10 a.m. Here also I was an object 
of interest and wonder, as Mrs. Weeks was the only 



94 

white woman they had ever seen before, and she 
was very ill as she passed through on her way 
home. 

Thursday, 12th. We started early. The road 
to-day is much smoother, and now and then we 
come upon pretty patches of tropical vegetation. 
We have seen a great number of brilliant birds, 
red, with black rings about their necks. The road 
being smoother, the carriers took me along at a 
brisk run, and I suffered a severe shaking up. 
They make the most fearful noises when running, 
to keep up their spirits. About 10.30 we came to 
a large plateau where we were to camp for the 
day. There were few trees, and it reminded me 
of Hampstead Heath, only it was flat. We 
managed to find one tree which afforded a little 
shade, and sat under it until the others came up. 
Mr. Phillips was suffering with a touch of fever, 
and had his travelling bed set up until the tents 
were ready. We have Mr. Weeks tent which is 
a large one, with a small room behind in which 
Marian sleeps. It was dreadfully hot all day, and 
we were glad to retire to our tents. In some 
respects it is pleasanter to camp out than to stay 
in a town. One is tired after a journey and does 
not desire to be stared at for the remainder of 
the day. 

"Friday, 13th. Last night we were much dis 
turbed by the carriers, who, having no other 
shelter, got under the fly of our tent, and spent 
the greater part of the night in telling Congo 
tales. After very little sleep, we rose and 
had breakfast by moonlight. Mr. Phillips, still 
feeling poorly, took the hammock most of the 



JOURNEY TO CONGO 95 

way. We crossed one or two small streams and 
passed through some splendid scenery. A tree 
covered with bright scarlet blossoms, and some 
magnificent boulders, balanced one on another, 
specially attracted my attention. 

" About 9 a.m. we came to a place where some 
women appeared with chop, ready cooked, for 
sale. Although we wanted very much to get on 
the men insisted on buying ; so we got out of our 
hammocks and sat on a rock while they took 
their refreshment. After making another start 
we reached Lombo town. There the hammock 
men made a stand, determined to wait for Mr. 
Lewis. At this place a kind of play is performed 
by which it is hoped to frighten strangers. Men 
called Nkimba, smeared all over with white 
stuff, and wearing petticoats of grass, rush out, 
make whirring noises, and screech horribly. How 
ever, seeing two white men, they did not come 
very near to us." 

"About 11 a.m. we halted at Kiunga, a small, 
wretched place where the people were exceedingly 
troublesome. It was some time before the tent 
men arrived, and we had to sit under the eaves 
of a native house and take our chop. Having a 
severe headache, Mr. Phillips retired into the 
native house in which he was to sleep, and lay 
down to rest. Mr. Lewis fell asleep in his chair. 
In the meantime the chief, who was absent when 
we arrived, returned. Seeing us he ran up, shook 
hands with me, and having shaken up Mr. Lewis 
went into the house, and in spite of the boys 
protest insisted upon waking Mr. Phillips. After 
this he brought us some palm wine. It was 



96 RETURN, MARRIAGE, AND 

refreshing, but I do not care for it. Later, having 
fallen asleep, I was rudely awakened by some one 
shaking me, and shrieking something in Por 
tuguese. It was another man who had just come 
home and was decidedly the worse for drink. Of 
course, I had to smile and shake hands with him. 
Mr. Lewis had retired to our tent. I followed 
him, but both he and Mr. Phillips had to submit 
to the same process. We were all very tired, and 
it was very hot, but there was no rest for us that 
afternoon. We were just beginning to enjoy a 
little quiet, when a number of men appeared at 
the tent door, gesticulating and talking loudly, 
several of them having obviously had too much 
to drink. They spoke Portuguese, and upon 
sending for Lembwa we found they were insisting 
that we should give them gin. It was long before 
we could be rid of them. At tea-time they re 
turned clamouring for sugar. As we were short 
of that article, we put them off by allowing them 
to have a drink of tea all round, which not being 
sweet they did not like. We were glad when the 
time came for bed, though even there we had 
little rest, for the mosquitoes were dreadful in 
spite of curtains. 

"Saturday, 14th. We started early, as usual, 
and left Kiunga without regret, Hence to San 
Salvador the track runs mostly through long 
grass. It is from twelve to twenty feet high, and 
so thick and strong that the carriers had hard 
work to pull the hammock through. In the early 
mornings the dews were so heavy that the water 
was running off the hammock-pole, and Mr. 
Lewis and Mr. Phillips were wet to the skin. We 



JOURNEY TO CONGO 97 

reached Kongo dia Ntinu about 10.30. I arrived 
some time before the others, alighted from the 
hammock, and sat on the cushions in the shade 
of a house. Here the people did not venture near 
me at first, but sat at a respectful distance, 
staring with all their might. When our chop 
box arrived we found, on opening it, that the 
bottle containing butter had been broken, and 
that consequently everything was bathed in oil. 
We managed to save a little, but must needs take 
everything out, as milk, tea-leaves, butter, and 
salt were well mixed together. A man here 
brought a queer little animal for sale. It was 
quite tame and the boys declared it would make 
good chop. After some discussion, we decided 
that it was an ant-eater. Mr. Phillips bought it 
as a pet, but since our arrival at San Salvador 
it has disappeared. Kongo dia Ntinu is a clean 
town, and a nice native house was placed at our 
service, which we found much cooler than the 
tent in the afternoon. While walking in the town 
we came upon some splendid lime trees growing 
wild and laden with fruit ; also some guava trees. 
We refreshed ourselves from the latter, and 
gathered a lot of limes to take with us. I should 
have mentioned that our new pet received the 
honoured name of Jeremiah. 

" Sunday, 15th. It was not considered advisable 
to make a halt on Sunday, so we started as usual. 
The height of the grass made it impossible for my 
carriers to turn, so I was carried up hills with 
head where my feet ought to be, a posture which 
was not productive of pleasant sensations. At the 
foot of one hill I had to alight to cross a small 

woiiiMii in Africa 



98 RETURN, MARRIAGE, AND 

stream, and as I happened to be ahead of the 
others I did not relish the prospect of getting 
in again on the slope of such a steep hill, so I 
ventured to walk up with the assistance of 
Lembwa s climbing-stick. But my husband and 
Mr. Phillips shook their heads so gravely over my 
imprudence that I did not dare to repeat the 
exploit. 

"To-day we crossed a river called the Lusu, 
which is bridged by a few branches of trees, 
twisted and tied together. It was rather awkward, 
but we took off our boots and got over safely. 
On this side we were detained for some time by 
a long palaver about paying toll for the use of 
the bridge. When this was settled the chief 
dashed us a goat, for which we returned about 
twice its value in cloth, We then resumed our 
journey. At most of the towns they dashed 
us fowls, and sometimes one of the women would 
bring me something special. Just before arriving 
at Mongo Kongo, where we camped to-day, we 
had to cross a small stream, in doing which Mr. 
Lewis sat down in the middle, and was carried into 
camp in a sopping condition, as his boots were 
off and shared the immersion. He had to sit, 
minus some of his garments, wrapped up in a 
rug in a native house till the man arrived with his 
bag. We passed through some lovely bits of forest 
to-day, but the greater part is not what we under 
stand by tropical. 

"At Mongo Kongo we met a man from San 
Salvador, bearing a letter from Mr. Graham, 
begging Mr. Phillips to come on quickly as Mr. 
Weeks was very ill. So about 3 p.m. he started 



JOURNEY TO CONGO 99 

off taking the hammock, his personal boys, and one 
or two men with bed and chop loads ; also 
Jeremiah, leaving us to follow with Lembwa. 
Shortly after his departure a number of people 
came and knelt down before our tent desiring to 
know why rain had not come. It was difficult to 
make them understand that we were not respon 
sible, and as rain came plentifully the next night 
I fear we had the credit of the boon. 

" Monday, 16th. On the way to-day we met 
some women coming to a small market who 
stopped the hammock bearers and insisted on 
looking at me. So I got down and submitted to 
inspection. They all crowded around me, shaking 
hands in turn, and two of them presented me with 
a few pieces of sugar-cane. ... It was rather late 
when we reached Nkiendi our next halting-place, 
and shortly after the tent was up a storm came on 
which lasted about an hour. 

" Tuesday, 17th. After a wild night with mos 
quitoes, in the early morning the storm returned 
with increased violence and continued until six 
o clock, so that we could not start till late. We 
soon reached the Lunda River, where we were long 
delayed. The river is crossed by a curious suspen 
sion bridge, which the natives have constructed of 
twisted and plaited branches of trees. It is hung 
from two trees which are slightly bent, and the 
getting up is a somewhat awkward proceeding, as 
is also the getting down. We had to climb and 
walk very carefully. The Loangos declined to 
take their loads across. After a lot of palavering, 
the loads were undone and the Congo men carried 
them over. It was getting late when the crossing 



100 RETURN, MARRIAGE, AND 

was completed, but fortunately the sun was not 
hot, and we were able to go on in comfort. We 
passed several small rivers, and one larger one, the 
Lele, which was much swollen after the rain. 
Here we had trouble again with the carriers. 
They declared they could not take me over in the 
hammock, and had no idea of carrying without it, 
except in their own way of carrying gentlemen. 
So we were in a fix, as the water was too deep to 
permit me to attempt wading. Mr. Lewis was just 
going to carry me himself, when two of them at 
last consented to return with the hammock and 
take me over. We were very glad of this ; for the 
river-beds are full of big stones, and we might 
both have had a dip together. At one place we 
noticed a very curious and picturesque formation 
of rock which assumed the appearance of a door 
cut in the hill. We stopped at a town called 
Kimvangi, and here the chief gave us a little goat, 
which was killed in the evening. After a short 
rest, we went on for about three-quarters of an 
hour to Lubamba, where we stayed the night. 

" Wednesday, 18th. We rose very early to-day 
and started at 6 a.m. sharp. The hills in this 
region are steep and frequent, and we were con 
tinually going up and down. In one place we went 
down into a very deep ravine. The descent was 
so steep that, after making several attempts, the 
carriers found themselves unable to take me down 
in the hammock ; so I had to get out and walk, for 
which I was not sorry. The way was very slippery 
and foothold difficult to keep, but with the aid of 
Lembwa and his stick I got safely to the bottom. 
After comfortably crossing several small rivers we 



JOURNEY TO CONGO 101 

reached Mbanza Ngozela before 11 o clock. Here we 
rested, and after taking some refreshment, pushed 
on again, as it was a dull day and we were anxious 
to reach San Salvador. The road was not at all 
monotonous now, ascending a place as awkward as 
the roof of a house, then forming a narrow path 
along the edge of a precipice which made me quite 
giddy. There are some magnificent rocks here 
about. Leaving this region of rocks, we traverse 
a wide valley and ascend a small hill to San Salva 
dor, which lies on high ground, where baobab - 
trees grow in abundance. As we neared Kongo 
(San Salvador) many women came from their farms 
to speak to me. We arrived at the Mission House 
about 1 p.m. The boys, arrayed in clean shirts, 
came running out to meet us, followed by Messrs. 
Phillips and Graham, who gave us a hearty wel 
come, as also did Mr. Weeks who was getting 
better." 



CHAPTER VI 

FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR. 1887-1890 

THE commencement of Mrs. Lewis s work at San 
Salvador was mercifully tame in comparison 
with her adventurous beginnings at Cameroons. 
The Mission was fairly established. There was a 
serviceable chapel, attended by a large congrega 
tion. Work among the men and boys was well 
organised, and gave promise of early harvest. 
Unhappily, almost immediately after the arrival of 
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, Mr. Weeks, the senior mis 
sionary of the station, was compelled to return 
home. He had remained to the last limits of 
endurance, and his condition gave rise to grave 
fears. By the mercy of God he is still fulfilling a 
distinguished ministry in the service of the Mission. 
In Messrs. Phillips and Graham, their remaining 
colleagues, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis found fellow- 
workers, much to their mind, and the friendships 
formed in those far back days have known no 
interruption but that of death. On Friday, Decem 
ber 4, 1887, five candidates whose lives and 
testimony yielded adequate evidence of their con 
version to God, were baptized by Mr. Lewis, and on 
the following Sunday a Church was formed. The 

102 



FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 103 

next day Mr. Graham wrote a happy letter to Mr. 
Bayiies, containing the following passage : 

" The names of these five you will doubtless 
know. They are : Matoko, who was one of the 
first of Mr. Comber s friends here ; Dom Miguel, 
the blacksmith ; the other three are our own boys 
Kivitidi, who was at first Mr. Hartland s boy ; 
Nlekai, whom many of the friends will remember 
seeing with Mr. Weeks in England ; and Luzemba, 
who came up from Tunduwa to visit his family here. 

" The baptismal service was very impressive. 
Quite a large number of people gathered to wit 
ness the ordinance, and both candidates and on 
lookers behaved exceedingly well. 

" We all felt it to be a great joy yesterday 
evening to sit down at the Lord s Table for the 
first time with native Christians in Congo. 

" It seems rather strange that it was just twelve 
months on Saturday since Mr. Phillips and I came 
to San Salvador. We could scarcely have hoped 
that in one year we should enjoy the privilege 
we had yesterday. 

" As we intended to organise a Church, we called 
together these five, who were to be its first mem 
bers, a little earlier than our usual time for the 
Communion Service, that we might explain mat 
ters to them. Mr. Phillips told them the nature 
and some of the principal laws of the Church of 
Christ, after which we each gave them the right 
hand of Christian fellowship. As it was my turn 
to preside at the Communion, I said a few words 
on the nature of the ordinance before we pro 
ceeded to the observance of it. It was indeed a 
season of hallowed joy." 



As yet there were no women converts. But 
from the first Mrs. Lewis realised that she was 
specially called to be the teacher and evangelist 
of the women and girls of San Salvador. Her 
efforts secured quick and encouraging response. 
Some three months after her arrival the Rev. H. 
Ross Phillips reports : " Here, at San Salvador, 
Mrs. Lewis has already gathered a fine class of 
girls, and a women s class also. Great interest is 
being shown by the women in the new work, and 
evidently it is much appreciated." It may be 
useful to the reader if at this point I reproduce 
one or two paragraphs written shortly after Mrs. 
Lewis s death. They anticipate the story, but 
present an outline picture, details of which this 
and following chapters will supply : 

" The chapel, which also served as school, was 
a bamboo structure capable of seating some 250 
persons. It was well attended on Sundays, men 
sitting in front and women behind ; the women 
often chattering and inattentive, accounting it a 
men s palaver. One day, soon after her arrival, 
a woman came to Mrs. Lewis, saying that she^ 
imperfectly understood the teaching in the chapel, 
and begged that she might come and be taught 
privately. She was, of course, encouraged. The 
next week two or three others came with her, 
and so began Mrs. Lewis s women s meeting, 
which, with its developments, has ever since been 
one of the most important parts of the work at 
San Salvador. It was all to the good that the 
first inquirers were women of some distinction 
indeed, wives of the King. Their example 
encouraged others. Very wisely Mrs. Lewis 



FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 105 

determined that these meetings should be as in 
formal as possible. The teaching was conducted 
in conversational fashion. Questions were wel 
comed and comments solicited. The meetings 
were held by Mrs. Lewis in her dining-room, 
the women sitting on the floor, and when the 
dining-room could not hold them they overflowed 
into the verandah. Sometimes there were as 
many as fifty present. But again, wisely, Mrs. 
Lewis preferred, for her special work, the small 
class to the large congregation. She could get 
closer to ten women than to a hundred, and so 
her inquirers and converts were divided up into 
many classes, held on different days. As the work 
developed, and the surrounding districts were 
reached, the women of each district had their 
day, and by these means our friend became the 
teacher, the friend, the confidante of hundreds of 
African women, who understood something of the 
love of God as it came to them through her heart. 

"While she was acquiring the language her 
work was done through an interpreter ; an intel 
ligent, good lad, who followed her about with 
absolute devotion and was always at her service. 
The first converts were men. But a few months 
after Mrs. Lewis s arrival at San Salvador two of 
the King s wives were baptized, and now for long 
years there have been more women members than 
men in the Church at San Salvador. In addition 
to her women s classes, Mrs. Lewis conducted, with 
great success, a large school of girls held in the 
chapel. 

" I am indebted to Mr. Lewis for a time-table 
of his wife s day s work at San Salvador. She rose 



106 FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

at 7, breakfasted at 7.30, concerned herself with 
domestic matters until 9, when the morning ser 
vice of prayer was held. At 9.30 she dispensed 
medicines to sick folk, and then came classes for 
women, which lasted till one o clock, the dinner 
hour, followed by an hour s rest and tea. From 
3 to 5 the school occupied her. Once or twice 
in the week there was a woman s prayer-meeting 
from 5 to 6, and the evening hours were filled 
with domestic duties, writing, and study. A big 
day s work for Africa." 

By a happy coincidence, on the morning of the 
day which I had set apart for the composition of 
this chapter, the post brought me a letter from 
Mrs. Graham of San Salvador. I quote certain 
apposite sentences. Mrs. Graham had been asking 
some of the elder women to give account of their 
earliest remembrances of Mrs. Lewis. " They say 
that when she came they had got used to white 
people, and were not afraid of her, but none of 
the women had come out from heathenism. Her 
teaching was so convincing, and she so unwearying 
in her efforts to get hold of them, that they never 
once doubted the truth of her message, even when 
threatened with death by the King. Some of these 
women are still among our most consistent mem 
bers, and to this day we are reaping the fruit of 
the thorough training in elementary theology 
which they received from her. She loved teach 
ing, was devoted to the women and girls, and we 
learnt from her wise plans of work." 

Upon arrival at San Salvador, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis 
took up their residence in the grass-house, which 
was available a good enough house of its kind, 



FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 107 

but leaving much to be desired both as to comfort 
and accommodation. Mr. Lewis, like his friend 
George Grenfell, was a practical man, who had 
been taught to work in iron, and knew, half by 
instinct, how to work in wood and stone. Immedi 
ately he set himself to build a more solid, spacious 
home for his wife, and on November 5, 1887, this 
important addition to the Mission properties in 
San Salvador was completed, and Mrs. Lewis 
proudly took possession of a house which afforded 
better facilities for the ordered housekeeping and 
evangelical hospitality to which, by nature and by 
grace, she was inclined. 

Mr. Lewis s " right-hand man " in this building 
business was his " boy " Kivitidi. And here some 
particulars concerning Kivitidi, who will often 
appear in the story, may be compendiously set 
down. He had been one of John Hartland s boys. 
From his much-loved and lamented master he had 
received the seeds of truth and book-learning, and 
good measure of instruction in manual work. 
From the first he became much attached to Mr. 
Lewis, and when he was informed that Mrs. Lewis 
had formerly been engaged to John Hartland, he 
said he " knew all about her," and thereafter was 
her devoted servant too. His regard was recipro 
cated, and his master and mistress were his truest 
friends. 

Yet Mrs. Lewis finds it in her heart to laugh at 
him, a fact which is nowise to his discredit. For 
surely she never had a friend from whom her 
bright humorous spirit would not derive amuse 
ment as well as other and more momentous 
benefits. When the house was roof high, Kivitidi 



108 FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

had to work at an unwonted elevation, and Mrs. 
Lewis gives a quaint account of his obvious 
tremors. But when Mr. Phillips was about to be 
married in San Salvador, some months later, 
Kivitidi once more suffered tremors. His own 
matrimonial projects were ripening, and he 
requested that the Christian marriage service 
should be explained to him. Mrs. Lewis complied 
with his request. Whereupon he owned himself 
appalled at the thought of having " to promise all 
that in the presence of all the people." However, 
like many another of his sex, when the day came, 
he "screwed his courage to the sticking-point," 
and promised " all that." 

Prior to his marriage, he built a house for him 
self, in the vicinity of his master s, so fine a house 
that it excited the dangerous envy of the King ; 
for was it not the finest native house in Congo ? 
Within a year of the building of his own house, 
Kivitidi was engaged in erecting a temporary 
mission chapel in Etoto, and became the first 
teacher of the first sub-station of our Congo 
Mission. Later, a son was born to him, whom he 
named "John Hartland," and it was one of the 
trials of the young mother, that she found her 
baby s name exceedingly difficult to pronounce. 
Probably she quickly discovered a manageable 
working substitute. 

The young interpreter referred to above was 
Nlekai, who was devoted to Mrs. Lewis, her 
instructor in the native language, and her indis 
pensable attendant in her labours among the 
women. Confessing her profound obligations to 
him, she yet yearned for the time when she would 



FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 109 

be able to dispense with at least one important 
part of his service. This yearning is incidentally 
expressed in a letter written to Miss Hartland on 
January 25, 1888, a letter which exhibits her work 
among the women in process of evolution. 

" The women s meeting on Monday is not well 
attended except by the elder girls. I have usually 
an attendance of from thirty to forty, but not 
more than two or three of the town women. I 
long so to be able to talk to them in their own 
language, though Nlekai does his best, and really 
takes an interest in making them understand. But 
many matters come up from time to time which it 
is awkward to speak about through a boy. Not 
that these women are particular, but it is bad for 
the boy. I have another class now, which I think 
will become regular. A few Sundays ago three or 
four of the King s wives, and several other women, 
came on Sunday afternoon, directly after dinner, 
saying, they wanted to hear more of God s palaver. 
This is my resting-time, but, of course, I could not 
send them away. They said they would like to 
come every Sunday at the same hour, and they 
have come several times. Two or three of them 
are, I believe, earnestly seeking the way of salva 
tion. It is very hard for them to understand even 
the simplest truths. ... I do feel for them ! They 
are so surrounded by filth of every kind." 

Kivitidi and Nlekai are spoken of as " boys." 
In truth they were young men ; and as early as 
October, 1887, Mrs. Lewis has occasion to correct 
the mistaken impression which the designation 
" boys " has made upon the minds of certain of her 
friends. They have sent out shirts which are piti- 



110 FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

fully scant, and are implored to remember that the 
" boy " Kivitidi is as big as Mr. Lewis. Three 
months later she has to plead for bigger dresses 
for the " girls." Of the sixty " girls " in her school, 
two-and-twenty are married women, some of them 
with two or three children ; and when the school 
examination is held the writing prize is taken by 
one of the King s wives. 

The sympathetic appreciation which the " boys " 
received from the woman whom they all revered 
is indicated in the following luminous and discern 
ing passage, which occurs in a letter written in 
November, 1888, to Mrs. Hartland : 

"I will give the boys the things as you say. 
Thank you very much for putting in something 
for Nlekai. He has no one in England who sends 
him things, and he is such a good boy ; a real 
earnest Christian worker, who has been my 
greatest help all round. He spends two evenings 
with me every week, one helping me with Kongo I 
translation, while on Saturday he receives a 
Bible-lesson. We are going through the Epistles 
together, and I am also teaching him English at 
odd times. He is so very anxious to learn. He 
goes with me when I visit in the town, and until 
just now has done all my interpreting. Since 
Kivitidi s foot has been bad, Nlekai has been doing 
part of his work for him, and now that Kivitidi is 
resuming his work, I am going to take Elembe to 
translate for me on Sundays so as to set Nlekai 
free. During the last year and a half he has had a 
thorough drilling by means of interpreting and 
visiting, and we think he will make a first-rate 

1 See Note B (p. 345). 



FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 111 

evangelist, though of a kind greatly different from 
Kivitidi. They are not in the least alike. Kivitidi 
has not the slightest fear of man, and for speaking 
to chiefs and big men, or addressing a congrega 
tion, he is far the better of the two. But Nlekai is 
our Barnabas/ and goes so nicely in and out of 
the houses and among women and sick people. 
Mr. Phillips is going to spare him one day from 
school, and he is to have a district to work twice a 
week. We pray that these two may have a great 
blessing and do much good. Matata, I think you 
know, is helping Nlekai with day school, and Mrs. 
Phillips with the language. So we hope that in 
time both he and Elembe will be able to work on 
their own account. Helping us is a capital training 
for them." 

Though the work of Mrs. Lewis among the 
women of San Salvador prospered from the 
beginning, it was not without its vicissitudes, and 
she was not without her hours of depression. In 
a letter addressed to Mrs. J. Jenkyn Brown, dated 
May 15, 1888, she confesses that just before 
Christmas she was tempted to give up her 
Monday class for the town women, as on several 
occasions only one came. But at the time of 
writing she is able to report most encouraging 
progress. Her day school is increasing rapidly. 
From twenty to twenty-five of the town women 
attend the Monday class, besides a number of the 
school-girls who remain. " Then the women came 
of their own accord on Sunday afternoon to my 
house to hear more, and this has become a regular 
institution. On Fridays I have only the Church 
members, and on Saturdays any who are inquiring 



112 FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

the way of salvation. There are now five of the 
King s wives awaiting baptism, and several other 
women of whom I have great hopes. So you see 
we have much reason to rejoice in the blessing of 
God, and to take courage for the future. We 
might baptize many more, but we feel the need 
of great care. A little waiting will not hurt them, 
if they are sincere ; and meanwhile we are able 
to watch their lives and instruct them further. It 
is so easy for these people to make a profession 
and to make long prayers. It is another thing for 
them to give up their bad country customs and to 
lead pure lives." 

This letter will probably raise a question in the 
mind of the reader, which was raised in the mind 
of Mrs. Lewis s correspondent. Writing some 
months later to Mrs. Brown, she says, " I am not 
surprised that you should think it strange to hear 
of some of the wives of the King being baptized. 
But as far as the women are concerned, they cannot 
leave their husbands, if they would, and therefore 
this could hardly be made a condition of baptism 
or Church membership. As to the other side, it is 
a very vexed question, and I am not at all sure 
that the position we have taken up as a Mission is 
the best. But the matter was virtually settled 
before we came here. There are so many opinions 
upon the subject that it is difficult to say which is 
right, in the absence of any absolute command. 
Of course, we do not allow Church members to take 
any more wives than they have already, and those 
not married can only take one wife." 

Having attempted to give the reader some 
general idea of Mrs. Lewis s work among women 



during the earlier period of her labours in San 
Salvador, I proceed to make some rapid notes of 
events in due sequence culled from diaries and 
letters. In June, 1887, the missionaries took their 
modest part in the Imperial Jubilee rejoicings, 
though they mistook the date, and on June 6th 
instead of June 22nd, Mr. Lewis dipped the flag, 
and in the absence of big guns Mr. Phillips fired 
salutes with his revolver. 

Little more than a month later the Mission was 
plunged into depths of sorrow by news which 
afflicted every Christian worker on the Congo, 
and sent a thrill of intense pain through thousands 
of Christian hearts at home. The diary records : 

"Saturday, July 16, 1887. Had a very slight 
fever last night. While at school letters came 
telling of the death of Tom Comber. What can 
it all mean? 

" Sunday, July 17th. Had a very sorrowful and 
solemn Sunday. Mr. Phillips spoke in the morning, 
Tom in the afternoon." 

Mr. Comber had many friends, but none of them 
regarded him with more affectionate reverence 
than Gwen Lewis, and her remembrance of him 
was vivid, and tender, and sacred, until the day on 
which she died at sea, as he had died. 

Many minor illnesses are recorded, and in a letter 
dated January 25, 1888, Mrs. Lewis remarks that 
her schoolgirls get holidays when she is sick, but 
none other. Even these are ill-esteemed, and the 
scholars are painfully eager for the resumption of 
their work. 

In the same letter reference is made to a case 
of more than local interest. A man of some edu- 

Engliahwoman in Africa 9 



cation obtained an interview with Mr. Lewis, and 
expressed a wish that his wife, who was a scholar 
in the school, might be taught to obey her husband. 
Mr. Lewis stated that such obedience was taught 
as a general principle, but that a particular appli 
cation of the principle could not be insisted upon 
until the nature of the case was known ; for if a 
husband commanded his wife to do a bad thing 
she ought not to obey him. The applicant did not 
specify the trouble, but said he came, fearing that 
he might grow angry and beat her, and that she 
might carry tales about him. Later it was ascer 
tained that he desired her to leave Mrs. Lewis and 
go to the priests school. This desire was not 
fulfilled. 

" Monday, April 23, 1888 (Diary). A big palaver 
between the King and our Mission. He wants our 
people to build their houses in another part of the 
town. They are to answer to-morrow. Such a 
number of women at my meeting to-day. 

" Tuesday, April 24th. School as usual. Palaver 
with King finished and all serene. He sent Tom 
and Mr. P. a grand stick each. Sat up very late 
to finish mails for up-country." 

At the end of May four of the King s wives 
were baptized, and Kivitidi was set apart for the 
work of an evangelist by the infant Church which 
undertook to support him. 

Some three months later Mr. and Mrs. Lewis 
accompanied by Matoko, Kivitidi, Elembe, and 
three girls made an important journey to Madimba, 
a large district to the south and south-east of San 
Salvador, with a view to discover some place which 
would be suitable for the establishment of a new 



FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 115 

station. The little expedition started early on 
August 18, 1888. Mrs. Lewis wrote notes of the 
journey, and we come up with the travellers as 
they are on the point of leaving Nsoni at noon 
August 20th. 

" We started again at 1 p.m., crossed the Lunda 
River, where was a bridge of one stick, passed two 
small towns, and arrived at Kiunga at 2.50. The 
chief was not ready to receive us, so we sat down 
outside an empty house and waited patiently. 
The cause of the delay was the fact that, never 
having seen a white man in his town before, the 
chief was much frightened, and sent for his fight 
ing men, who were assisting a neighbouring chief. 
He appeared at last surrounded by men with guns, 
but in obvious perplexity as to what our visit 
could mean. 

" He was a most picturesque figure ; an oldish 
man with an extraordinary head-dress, wearing 
his cloth arranged in a fashion which reminded 
us of the pictures of Aaron. He quite jumped 
when Tom offered to shake hands. Tom told 
him that we had come to speak to him about 
God, and all that we desired of him was a 
house to sleep in, and permission to speak to his 
people. I felt quite sorry for the old man ; for 
between his fear of offending the white man, and 
his caution against falling into a trap, he did not 
know what to do. Tom somewhat allayed his 
fears by pointing to me as a proof that he had 
come on a peaceful errand. Finally it was agreed 
that we should have the house we were sitting 
against, and that the people should come to hear 
our message when the moon was up. 



116 FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

" At the time appointed the chief and his men 
came, fully armed, but said that the women were 
afraid. When we had given our message, they 
were much relieved, and afterwards a number of 
women came saying that they wished to hear too ; 
so I sat outside my house for some time talking 
to them. The next morning chief and people 
pressed us to stay, and upon learning that we 
could not do so, said that as none of our party 
had done any bad palaver they would like to see 
a white man again. We were much interested in 
the Kiunga people, but decided that it would be 
premature to consider the planting of a station 
there just now. 

"It was late and hot when we started, but I 
was comfortable and well shaded in my hammock. 
I had to alight twice in this stage of our journey 
as we came to rivers through which the men 
could not carry me. One passage was very 
awkward, the bridge consisting of two pieces 
of stick which extended only half-way across, 
and that under water instead of over it. I took 
off shoes and stockings, waded to the end of the 
bridge, which was frightfully slippery, and was 
carried on two men s shoulders the rest of the 
way. Soon afterwards we reached Lunda. 

"This is a large town, but the people are 
the most unpleasant we have met with dirty, 
drunken, very much afraid of us, yet so full of 
curiosity that they did not leave us for one 
minute in peace. There are two chiefs here. One 
had just started out to bury his brother. He 
was called back, and did not venture forth again 
until we had gone. In the evening a crowd 



FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 117 

assembled to hear what we had to say, but our 
speech made no impression, and they went away, 
evidently saying in their hearts, Is that all ? 
There were about a hundred and fifty present, 
and many of the men were half drunk. The 
house they gave us was filthy, and full of cock 
roaches you know how I love them and we 
were not sorry to depart next morning. 

"August 21st. Our journey to-day was short, 
and we arrived at Etoto about 11.30. This is a 
large town for Congo, containing about four hun 
dred inhabitants, nicely situated on the top of a 
high hill slightly indented in the middle. We 
waited some little time for the coming of the 
chief, who seems rather an agreeable man, quiet 
and less important in his own eyes than most 
of these petty rulers are. He gave us one of 
his houses, or rather part of one, built of planks. 
We ventured to peep in at the other part, and 
found it full of old chairs, images of nkixi, and 
dreadful rat-holes, so we thought it expedient 
not to ask for the loan of that. The rats held 
high revels at night and seriously disturbed our 
slumbers. 

"We discovered in this place a wife of the 
King of San Salvador, who was sick, one of my 
schoolgirls, and two schoolboys, who afforded us 
something of an introduction. The people were 
shy but friendly, and we quickly decided that this 
was the place we were seeking, if only the people 
were willing. Tom spoke to the chief men about 
the matter, saying that we should like to come 
often to teach the children to read, and to give 
them all some knowledge of God ; asking them 



118 FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

also if they would be willing for us to build a 
house for these purposes. At first they could 
hardly believe him. It seemed too good to be 
true. But being assured that we were in earnest, 
they said, in African fashion, that they would 
drink water, i.e., consider the matter, and tell 
us next day. 

" In the morning they declared that they would 
much like us to come, and we went with the 
chief to seek a site for our house and school. 
We chose a good one on the highest point of 
the hill, with a fine view across country to 
Arthington Falls. This settled, we returned to 
our house. I went to visit the King s wife, and 
after chop I held a large meeting of women 
outside her house. There were some fifty or 
sixty present who had remained away from their 
farms on purpose. Then the men came, desiring 
to hear, and Tom had a long talk with them. 
In the evening two women came, asking to hear 
more, and after discussing matters with Matoko 
and Kivitidi we went to bed. 

" August 24th. To-day we started homewards, 
made a long journey, and had much trouble in 
getting through a very bad marsh. Once I was 
landed comfortably on the branch of a tree, and 
my hammock could not be moved one way or 
the other until Kivitidi came to the rescue with 
his long arms and legs. Our stray sheep (school 
children) came with us from Etoto. We slept 
at Nkala, a miserable little town, chief away, 
few people, and no opportunity for speaking. 
The next morning, August 25th, we left early, 
made a long march over the hills, and arrived 



FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 119 

at San Salvador at 11 p.m. We had a warm 
welcome, and found all well." 

Mr. Lewis hoped, with the aid of Kivitidi, to 
commence building at Etoto in the course of a 
few weeks, but a series of misadventures and 
adversities postponed the work until the new 
year, and even then the evangelist had to make 
the start without the missionary s personal over 
sight and direction. 

In September the marriage of Mr. Phillips to 
Miss Phillips was the occasion of glad excitement 
in San Salvador. It was intended that the 
marriage should take place at Underbill, but legal 
difficulties arose, as the parties were to reside in 
Portuguese territory. The interest of the event 
was increased by the presence of Mr. Holman 
Bentley, who was paying a short visit. Mrs. 
Lewis records : " September 18th, Tuesday. Up 
early, went to the Resident s first, where the civil 
marriage was performed between Mr. and Miss 
Phillips, then came back and went to the chapel, 
which Tom and Mr. Bentley had decorated beau 
tifully. Tom performed the ceremony, Mr. Bentley 
giving the bride away. The Resident, with Messrs. 
Pereiro and Dumas, came home to breakfast, and 
afterward we had our photos taken. Mr. Bentley 
left." 

A few weeks later occurs another entry which 
the reader will be expecting. " October 31st, 
Wednesday. Had breakfast in our bedroom 
early. Wedding of Kivitidi and Tomba in chapel 
at 11 a.m. ; then feed at our house, and festivities 
all day. Mr. and Mrs. Phillips stayed to tea, and 
spent the evening. All went off well." 



120 FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

It was a grievous disappointment to all con 
cerned that Mrs. Phillips, who commenced her 
missionary work with glad eagerness and no little 
aptitude, soon suffered serious illness, and in the 
earlier part of January she and her husband were 
compelled to leave for England. 

Meanwhile, Mrs. Lewis has advanced so far in 
her mastery of the language that she finds her 
self making some modest literary ventures, of 
which she gives an amusing account in a letter 
dated December 29, 1888. It is not wonderful, 
perhaps, that her appreciation of the language 
was not as enthusiastic as that of the man whose 
stupendous labours were reducing it to literary 
form. Mrs. Lewis writes to Miss Hartland : " I 
do not wonder that you are amused by the look 
of the Congo hymns. It is a very ugly language, 
I think, in sound and appearance. But Holman 
Bentley thinks it lovely. It is as the red rag to 
the bull if one disparages this language to him. 
When he was here, I was wicked enough to 
remark that I thought it very unmusical, where 
upon he replied, in severe tones : It has all the 
elements of a beautiful language. The poetical 
mania has taken us all just now. The big boys 
are hard at work translating hymns. The trouble 
is to understand the English first, and then to 
get the right number of syllables. Some of their 
verses are not bad, others are most amusing, 
and require a great deal of puckering to get them 
in. I have just finished There is a Happy Land, 
and our old hymn which we used to sing at 
Mr. Tucker s Bible-class, Children, will you go ? 
Mr. Phillips and Tom are both at it. We shall 



FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 121 

have quite a San Salvador Supplement soon. But 
though the number of the hymns will be consider 
able, I will not say much for the quality. Yet 
they please the people, and will serve until a 
native poet arises." 

In the same letter she tells of how the com 
mencement of the projected station at Etoto has 
once more been delayed by an outbreak of small 
pox. The people of the town, in their distress, 
much to the regret of the missionaries, and with 
out their knowledge, sent for a witch doctor. He 
came. But the fear of the white man s influence 
was strong upon him, and, with admirable shrewd 
ness, he affirmed that the witch was one of the 
people who had died of the pestilence, and 
having given this judgment, departed with dis 
creet alacrity. Other troubles caused further 
delay, but at the end of January Kivitidi and 
Matoko started for Etoto to begin to build. 

As the steady strain of the work and the 
inevitable trials of the climate were telling upon 
Mrs. Lewis, it was thought desirable in the early 
part of the year that, somewhat later, she should 
return and make a short stay in England. At the 
end of March she writes cheerily of the abandon 
ment of this scheme, and of the possible substitu 
tion of a short visit to Madeira. She reports that 
Padre Barosa has written promising great re 
inforcements for the Catholic Mission at San 
Salvador, which she surmises will prove "mythical," 
as in other instances. The work at Etoto is 
making good progress. She also casually men 
tions that a leopard has located himself "just 
outside our fence," is raiding the live-stock of the 



122 FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

Mission, but, to her great regret, is too clever to 
be seen. 

On April 20, 1889, Mrs. Lewis wrote a circular 
letter to be read in certain Sunday schools with 
which the mission maintained correspondence. It 
is too informing and suggestive to be omitted, and 
too long to be reproduced in full. So I give it in 
slightly condensed form. 

" I suppose many of you have read in the 
Missionary Herald of the little branch station 
which we have established at a town called Etoto, 
two days journey from San Salvador. Mr. Lewis 
visited Etoto about a month ago, and found the 
work going on well under the care of Kivitidi, 
our native evangelist. The services on Sunday 
and daily evening prayers are well attended, and 
thirty boys come regularly to school. As yet no 
girls have been induced to come. But as soon 
as the dry season arrives, I hope to pay them a 
visit with my husband, and then I have no doubt 
we shall get some girls to attend school. Mr. 
Moolinaar has just been spending a month there, 
and has visited some towns of the district. The 
school-house, with rooms for native teacher and 
missionary, is nearly finished. Please think of 
this new station and pray that many of the 
people may be brought to know and love our 
Lord Jesus Christ. . . . 

" The town Nlekai goes to on Sundays is called 
Mbanza Mputu and is about one and a half hour s 
walk distant. The townspeople have received the 
good news very gladly, and have themselves built 
a little meeting-house, that the rains may not 
stop them from hearing God s palaver. My 




CHIKl- NOSO AND 1 AKT OK HIS KAMII.Y. 



FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 123 

husband has visited them several times, and they 
have been anxious to see me, as white women are 
scarce in this part of the world. As there is a 
deep river to be crossed on the road, I sent word 
that if they wished to see me they must make 
a bridge. They have done this ; and last week I 
went with Nlekai. 

" I was heartily welcomed. All the people came 
together, and I talked to them for a long time 
about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ ; 
after which, the chief and other people asked 
many questions. They are very fond of singing, 
and know two or three hymns already ; so we 
sang all they knew and I taught them another, 
Oh, what a Saviour ! which has been translated 
by one of our boys. Then I walked about the 
town and saw some sick people, everybody being 
anxious to know when I would come again. 

" Before I left they told me that in a town not 
far away a witch palaver was to be held in three 
days time. Many people had been sick and had 
died. A witch doctor had pointed out a certain 
woman as the witch. She was to undergo the 
trial by poison. But being very angry they had 
determined that she should surely die. The chief 
and the people of Mbanza Mputu had tried to 
prevent this wickedness, but their protests were 
not listened to, and they wished to know if we 
could do anything. I promised to tell my husband. 
He started off the next day and arrived just in 
time to stop the cruel deed. There was a long 
discussion, and at last they agreed not to harm 
the woman. Mr. Lewis then told them something 
about God, to which they listened attentively, 



124 FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

and afterwards begged him to come and teach 
them again. So you see, their wicked purpose 
is likely to turn out for the spread of the Gospel. 
The people at Mbanza Mputu have long ago 
thrown away their fetishes, and we hope that many 
of them may soon become true servants of God. 

"When you are thinking about us out here, 
do not forget Nlekai and his work. He has just 
become engaged, though he will not be married 
for some years yet, and I think you may like to 
know how he got his future wife. Among the bad 
fashions of this dark land, one of the worst is, 
that men have many wives. The richer a man is 
the more wives he gets. Men buy little girls when 
they are quite small, and soon take them away 
to live with their other wives. Very often the 
little girls do not like to be taken away from their 
own families, but if they make a fuss they are 
beaten and tied and carried off. 

"Well, the little girl whom Nlekai is to marry 
had been given by her family to a man who had 
ten wives already. He had bought a wife from 
the same family before. She had died, and so 
they gave him Bwingidi instead. She had been 
attending my school for some time, but her 
mother died, and soon after this man came to take 
her away. One Sunday, just as we had finished 
our morning service, she came running to us, 
begging to be allowed to stay, as she did not like 
the man, and did not wish to go where there was 
no school or teacher. He had come to fetch her 
the day before, but she had run away, had 
remained all night in the bush, and now they were 
looking for her. 



FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 125 

" The next day all her people came ; but when 
the husband saw Bwingidi here, and dressed like 
the other girls, he said he did not want her, now 
that she had been living in the white man s house, 
but he wanted the money which he had paid to 
her family for a wife. So we settled the matter 
by paying the price on condition that her family 
made her perfectly free, and they signed a paper 
putting her in our charge till she married. She is 
a bright girl of eleven or twelve years, and now it 
has been arranged that she is to be Nlekai s wife 
when she grows up. . . . 

" We have now another member of our mission 
family, a baby boy about five months old. His 
mother having died, his father left him with some 
women, and cared no more for him. No one could 
be found to nurse him. So he was just flung into 
the corner of a dirty house to starve. When my 
husband brought him to me, he was so weak that 
he could not move nor even cry, and had a great 
boil on his neck. However, after being washed 
and fed, he slept well, and in a day or two could 
kick and scream finely. He is getting on well now, 
though he has many ailments, the effects of his 
ill-treatment. We call him Daniel and hope he 
will grow up to be good and brave like his name 
sake. 

"Now I have told you all these things that 
you may know how the little children suffer in 
this country, and how much the people need to 
be taught about the Lord Jesus, Who loved little 
children. . . ." 

Mrs. Lewis s estimate of her staying power 
indicated in the March letter proved to be over- 



126 FIRST TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

sanguine, and in June she was sent off to England, 
where she arrived in August, having made a visit 
to the Cameroons on the voyage. Naturally she 
was warmly welcomed by many friends and found 
refreshment and inspiration in the renewal of 
former associations. Her stay was brief, and in 
November she sailed for Africa in the ss. Mexican, 
accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Graham, newly 
married, and Mr. Walter Stapleton, of whose 
character she formed a penetrating estimate, wholly 
justified by his notable, but all too short career. 
She much enjoyed the voyage and took kindliest 
interest in the conversations of the two young men, 
who sharpened their wits by the discussion of high 
points of doctrine, and essayed to settle minor 
questions (of course without prejudice and upon 
adequate data), such as " whether dark girls or fair 
ones were the pluckiest." 

The voyagers were met by Mr. Lewis and Mr. 
Weeks at Banana, and received a tumultuous 
welcome at Underbill, whither Mr. Lewis had 
been constrained to bring all the girls of the 
household, having no one to take charge of them 
in his absence. He also brought Daniel Jones, 
the one-time squalid, sickly, outcast baby, who in 
a few months had developed into a sleek, tiny 
tyrant who imagined that the world was made 
for him and "wanted to be king of everybody." 

A still more touching welcome awaited Mrs. 
Lewis at San Salvador. The women were over 
joyed by her return. They abandoned their work 
for the day, and for days to come kept bringing 
her presents, not " dashes " to be returned, but 
free gifts, "because they saw plenty joy." 



It was " plenty joy " to Mrs. Lewis also to be in 
her own home again, which her husband had 
furbished and improved during her absence, and 
she looked for another year of work before the 
long vacation of the proper furlough. But Pro 
vidence ordered otherwise. Mr. Lewis s health 
failed, and within six months they were on their 
way to England. The following paragraph from 
the Missionary Herald of July, 1890, may fitly 
close this chapter : 

"We are thankful to report the arrival of the 
Rev. Thos. and Mrs. Lewis from San Salvador. 
For some months past Mr. Lewis has suffered 
greatly from repeated and severe attacks of 
bilious fever with strongly marked typhoidal 
symptoms, which have greatly reduced his strength 
and rendered an immediate change absolutely 
needful. For nearly four years Mr. Lewis has 
been resident on the Congo without change." 



CHAPTER VII 

SECOND TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

MR. LEWIS gathered strength during the 
voyage. Upon arrival in England he was 
pronounced " much better " and Mrs. Lewis " very 
well." A visit to the Parkinsons at Deal and a 
stay with the Hartlands at Aberystwyth yielded 
much pleasure to all concerned and went far 
toward restoring Mr. Lewis to customary vigour. 
Toward the end of November Mrs. Lewis is busy 
with her old friends at Camden Road preparing 
for the Congo Sale and records with evident 
delight a surprise visit at the schoolroom by Gren- 
fell, who had arrived in England two days earlier. 
On November 25th the Sale was opened by Mrs. 
Lewis, Mr. Baynes, the Secretary of the B.M.S., 
and the Rev. William Brock, of Hampstead, being 
among her supporters. She spoke in calm, simple, 
restrained, but intense fashion of her work among 
the women of San Salvador, and held a large 
audience in closest and most sympathetic attention. 
And here I may remark and the judgment is 
based not upon this speech only, but also upon 
many others heard in later years and more fully 
remembered never was there a missionary 



128 



1891] SAN SALVADOR 129 

speaker who more conscientiously avoided exces 
sive use of bright colouring in pictures of mission 
ary success. Her nature was passionately truthful, 
and she ever sought as far as possible to make her 
audiences see things as they really were. As far 
as possible, I say, for her saddened eyes saw much 
which her woman s lips could never speak, and 
this she allowed her friends to understand. 

In the New Year Mr. Lewis was sent north, 
south, east, and west on deputation journeys, but 
Mrs. Lewis s work was largely confined to the 
London district, in which she attended many 
meetings advocating the cause to which her life 
was given. Once she started at an hour s notice 
for Newport, Mon., and spoke at an evening meet 
ing the same day, " with Tom and Mr. Evans, of 
Merthyr." As much as possible of her time was 
given to her "dear mother," Mrs. Hartland, who 
was at this time a confirmed invalid and subject 
to the discipline of much suffering, which she 
endured with exemplary Christian patience and 
submission. 

It is interesting to me, as it will be to many 
readers, to gather from the diary that Grenfell 
was a frequent visitor at the rooms of Mr. and 
Mrs. Lewis. The entry for Saturday, March 21st, 
surprised me. "Mr. Grenfell and Mr. Hawker 
called." The eclecticism of memory is one of the 
mysteries of life. Incidents of no moment and 
little interest are retained with photographic 
clearness, other incidents which it would be 
precious to recall pass utterly out of mind. 
Clearly upon this day I must have spent some 
time probably an hour, perhaps more in con- 

m Africa 10 



130 SECOND TERM AT 

versation with two people whom I regarded with 
affectionate esteem and whose lives I was destined 
to write long years afterwards. Yet I confess 
with wonder and humiliation that the utmost 
effort at recollection leaves me destitute of the 
faintest remembrance of the fact. 

Six weeks later Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were both 
down with influenza. The illness was somewhat 
serious and involved a visit to Ventnor, where 
lost energies were recovered. They returned to 
London in the middle of June, and on the day of 
arrival met Mrs. J. J. Brown and Messrs. Grenfell 
and Oram. On June 19th Mrs. Lewis records with 
a note of relief that she has " passed Dr. Roberts," 
and on the last day of the month she and her 
husband leave London for Liverpool amid the 
cheers of a company of friends who had gathered 
at St. Pancras for the send-off. Mrs. Parkinson 
accompanied them to Liverpool, where Mr. Parkin 
son joined them later. On Wednesday, July 1st, 
the little party spent the day at Southport. 
Surely it must have been a wet day, for Mrs. 
Lewis smites the fair town with the scornful 
phrase, " wretched place," and is glad to get back 
to Liverpool to tea. An evening entertainment in 
Liverpool proved as little satisfactory as South- 
port. Perhaps she was in no mood for entertain 
ment. 

The next day she sailed upon her fourth voyage 
to Africa, which, though enlivened by many 
incidents of interest, proved on the whole the most 
wearisome and comfortless of her experience. On 
August 20th she writes: "Arrived at Banana 
about 7 a.m. After breakfast went ashore and 



1891] SAN SALVADOR 131 

called at the Dutch House. Went to see dear 
Annie s grave. Tom photographed it. Rather 
tired." 

The mention of " Dear Annie s grave " calls 
for a slight digression. Annie was the youngest 
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jonas Smith, of Camden 
Road Church, and one of Mrs. Lewis s girl friends, 
whose name has already been mentioned. She 
became engaged to Mr. Percy Comber and went 
out to Africa to be married. Arriving at St. 
Thome on the voyage, she was overjoyed to find 
that the homeward-bound steamer was in port 
and that among her passengers were Mr. and Mrs. 
Lewis. There lies before me as I write her letter 
to Mrs. Hartland, written at the close of this happy 
day of meeting, telling of how her friends were 
brought aboard her ship and of the eager, happy 
converse which ensued. 

They parted. The Lewises arrived safely in 
England. Annie Smith was married at Matadi on 
June 5th, and passed up to Wathen, where she 
worked for a few months with great joy and 
much promise. Toward the end of the year 
serious illness fell upon her, and under doctor s 
orders she started for home, accompanied by her 
husband. But her journey ended at Banana on 
December 19th. She was laid to rest beside the 
sea, and her stricken husband turned back to 
his work alone. The sorrow at Camden Road 
was great. She had gone from us such a little 
while before, so full of radiant life, so joyous in 
her consecration to the great cause. Mrs. Lewis 
was present at the memorial service held in 
Camden Road Church on January 25, 1891, and 



132 SECOND TERM AT 

the reader will appreciate the sorrowful interest 
of her visit to " dear Annie s grave," and the 
intensity of her sympathy with "poor Percy, so 
sad and lonely." 

On August 28th, Mrs. Lewis writes from Tun- 
duwa (Underbill) lamenting endless delays. The 
old King of San Salvador is dead, and the hoped-for 
carriers are detained by the prolonged obsequies 
of their late sovereign. She is still in Tunduwa 
on September 6th, but has been of service in 
nursing Mr. Lawson Forfeitt through an illness, 
whose return to England, she suggests, should be 
arranged speedily. Finally, on September 12th, 
San Salvador is reached, and the longed-for work 
is resumed. A fortnight later Mrs. Graham and 
Mrs. Phillips are on the point of leaving for 
England. Their husbands are to accompany them 
to the coast, and Mr. Graham is to remain in 
charge at Underbill, while Mr. Forfeitt takes his 
much-needed furlough. 



It is not practicable, as it is not necessary, to 
attempt anything like a continuous story of the 
next two or three years. The work proceeds 
along the lines laid down, and the days are passed 
in the quiet and sometimes monotonous discharge 
of routine duties. San Salvador is off the main 
line of the Mission, and Mrs. Lewis and her friends 
live in a little world of their own, which occa 
sionally seems to be very small and secluded. But 
the work is too constantly exacting to give time 
for dispiriting reflection upon its isolation, nor is 
it destitute of occasional excitements. 






1801-a] SAN SALVADOR 133 

Mrs. Lewis resumed with undiminished zeal her 
school work and her women s classes. Her medical 
and dispensary work steadily increases. There are 
successes which cheer and disappointments which 
test faith and endurance. An untoward accident 
interrupts the promising work at the sub-station 
of Btoto. Some of the " boys " become less zealous, 
and, like certain of their white brethren in Eng 
land, yield to the seductions of worldly interest. 
Kivitidi resigns the office of evangelist, and occu 
pies himself in tailoring and trading, which he 
finds much more remunerative. Yet he continues 
to live the life of a Christian man, and renders 
to the Mission much voluntary service. Nlekai 
and others involve themselves and their mis 
sionary friends in troubles and embarrassments 
by their matrimonial aspirations and ventures. 

The marriage business is still more distracting 
in relation to the girls. It is not to be thought 
of that they should not marry ; they marry when 
they are mere children, and their babies keep 
them away from school at the time when they 
would profit most by instruction. In some in 
stances the grandmothers take care of the babies, 
and set the girl-mothers free. Mrs. Lewis observes 
that the grandmothers are much more devoted 
to the babies than the mothers, and she surmises 
that this is due to the fact that the mothers are 
mere children themselves, too immature to appre 
ciate or discharge maternal responsibilities. 

1892 was the centenary year of the Baptist 
Missionary Society. The little Church at San 
Salvador, numbering thirty-nine members, re 
solved to make its contribution to the Centenary 



134 SECOND TERM AT 

Fund in the form of a Christmas collection. The 
conditions of native life made it desirable that 
the gifts should be brought in as soon as they 
were ready. If they were stored up in the native 
huts they might be used or lost, so the Christmas 
collection began early. 

Writing on New Year s Day, Mrs. Lewis says : 
" Kivitidi was the first to bring his offering. 
Since then the people have been constantly 
coming, and a strange collection you would find 
it. Some have brought cloth, some beads, some 
fowls, some baskets full of ground nuts. One 
woman brought a keg of gunpowder, and one 
man the largest contribution of all a pig. This 
last offering caused much amusement. It was so 
difficult to catch that it seemed doubtful whether 
it would be ready for Christmas Day, either dead 
or alive. However, on the morning of Christmas 
Eve, it arrived dead, borne triumphantly in a 
hammock, and made a capital Christmas feast 
for all the people on the station. 1 The people 
have indeed offered willingly, and have both 
surprised and gladdened our hearts by their 
generosity. On Christmas morning a large con 
gregation met together in our chapel for a 
thanksgiving service, when the names of the 
contributors were read out, and it was announced 
that the total value of the collection was 
33 14s. 3d. Earnest prayers were offered by 
some of the native Christians that God s blessing 
might go with their gifts, and we closed by 
singing the Te Deum and the Doxology." 

In the same letter Mrs. Lewis tells of certain 
1 See Appendix, Note C. 



1892] SAN SALVADOR 135 

horrible cruelties perpetrated in the district in 
deference to native customs. Two runaway slaves 
were captured, tied to long poles firmly fixed in 
the earth, and left to starve. In returning from 
Tunduwa Mr. Phillips saw the charred bones of 
a woman who had been burned to death in a 
witch palaver. In a town near by a slave, for 
a threatening word, was put in irons, his neck 
made fast in the fork of a heavy stick six feet 
long. In this plight he had remained for twenty- 
one days when Mr. Lewis came upon him, while 
the death palaver was in process. Happily, in 
this instance, he was able to effect a rescue, and 
the man was taken to work on the Mission 
station. 

On April 28th in a long letter to her niece, 
Miss Ethel Percival, Mrs. Lewis tells of Nlekai 
beginning work in Mawunza ; of the hindrance 
to the Mission arising from the unpopularity of 
the present Portuguese officials and the Catholic 
Mission ; and then gives the following account 
of her garden, which is yielding Mr. Lewis 
recompense for his labours. 

" We have lots of flowers in our garden 
English ones, too verbenas, heliotropes, petunias, 
and roses pink and white. We have also a 
quantity of maize, plantains, and bananas in our 
kitchen garden, splendid onions and potatoes, 
which will be ready shortly. Yams, too, are 
coming on. Limes are in abundance, and the 
trees are laden with oranges, which I hope will 
ripen in due time. This is the Vegetable dis 
pensation. Under Mr. Graham it was the Animal 
dispensation, and the two do not run well to- 



136 SECOND TERM;AT 

gether. Now our live-stock is kept within bounds, 
and consists of one goose, which is fattening for 
the table, several ducks, a few goats, a lot of 
pigeons, and one dear rabbit, Jack, who has a 
spacious yard all to himself, for his tiresome 
wife has run away. How she went is a mystery. 
Mr. Phillips also possesses a monkey, who lives 
in a cage, poor fellow ! I forgot the fowls, whose 
name is legion." 

"June 28th. I don t think I told you that 
since I returned this time I have started quite 
a midwifery practice. It came without seeking. 
Of course I could not do anything in this line 
until I could speak without an interpreter. Now 
I am in request at the advent of every baby. 
I keep a registry of births, that we may have 
some idea of the children s ages. I could tell 
you some laughable things about habits and 
customs, but I cannot write them. At last, this 
month, we have dispensed with interpreters alto 
gether i.e., Tom and I. I think Mr. Phillips will 
also when he comes back. We have managed for 
some time everything except the regular services. 
In these we were afraid of making mistakes, 
which are so easy. But for three Sundays Tom 
has preached in the native language, and all the 
people say he speaks well, and that they can 
understand him perfectly. Last Sunday my in 
terpreter was away, and having asked the women 
if they would understand me, and being reassured, 
I made the attempt, though I was awfully nervous. 
At the end one of the women kindly told me 
that they understood perfectly, and liked it much 
better. It means a lot more work, as one has 



1892] SAN SALVADOR 137 

to prepare the words as well as the matter of 
one s sermons ; and I have a Bible-class in school 
on Wednesday, another in the house on Thursday 
evening, and give an address at the women s 
prayer-meeting on Saturday. Then there are the 
Sunday school and the women s meeting on Sun 
day, and in every case the preparation must be 
different, as some of the audience come to all. 
However, we are very thankful to have got so 
far. It seems like beginning a new stage in our 
missionary work. . . . People in England seem to 
forget sometimes that I am as much interested in 
their work as they are in mine. It is the same 
work, only we are on distant service. But we 
do not forget the work at home, either in our 
thoughts or in our prayers. 

"July 29th. I do hope dear mother is not 
suffering very much ; we so often think of her 
and of you all. I am thinking that perhaps to 
morrow you and Mr. Hartland are setting off 
upon your travels. We should just like to fly 
over and go with you for a month to Wales. 
Wouldn t it be jolly? But we are unable to get 
away, even for a journey here. Mr. Phillips has 
been away just on three months, and we are 
alone. We have heard nothing from Tunduwa 
since last mail. We suppose the carriers are 
afraid to come, and we cannot get away to go to 
him. There is a palaver proceeding in the town, 
and the King forbids any one to leave. One 
family, who are slaves of the Padres, are claiming 
another family as slaves of theirs, and the Padres 
are backing them. This same dispute was brought 
up and settled several times, some years ago. 



138 SECOND TERM AT 

The whole town is in a state of commotion, and 
nearly every day the people assemble under the 
big tree. The King, got up in striking costume 
varied from day to day, sits on his throne with 
the Queen beside him. They are a pair ! The 
disputing parties, holding their guns, are ranged 
opposite one another. Then the counsellors on 
either side sing songs, make speeches, and finish 
up with a dance. Of course there is also any 
amount of malavu drinking. 

" The old road to Noki is shut up. There are 
other roads by which we send letters, but the 
carriers are all afraid to go for loads. The Portu 
guese talk about soldiers coming, but they are 
a long time on the way. The Resident told 
Tom the other day that they are going to 
make a military station half-way to keep the 
road open. I wish they would remove this 
Resident. There have been palavers ever since 
he came, and he does not know how to settle 
them. This palaver has brought many strangers 
to the town, arid they attend our meetings, so 
good may come out of evil. But all these things 
interrupt our work. The minds of the people 
are unsettled, and full of other things. I have 
just received a new girl into the house, and she 
is a caution ! the wildest specimen I have yet had 
to deal with. She is put under our protection by 
the Resident, and is quite grown up." 

The following extract from a circular letter 
written on September 26th gives an instructive 
and idyllic picture of a Congo baptism, with 
certain other matters suggestive of the dark back 
ground : 



1892] SAN SALVADOR 139 

" We had a very happy time at Mbanza Mputu 
at the end of last month. Tom and I went over 
on Tuesday, and stayed two nights. There were 
six whom we wished to baptize, the chief, his 
sister, three of his wives, and another man. But 
we found that one of the women was sick, and 
another away. The event caused quite an excite 
ment in the towns around, as the chief holds a 
position, second only to that of the King of Congo. 
On the day before the baptism the women of the 
town were hard at work preparing to receive 
visitors from other places. A pig was killed, and 
in every house might be seen groups of women 
pounding pepper and skinning pumpkin seeds for 
seasoning the dishes on the morrow. We spent 
the day in speaking to inquirers, and preparing 
the candidates. None of these people had ever 
seen a baptism, so it was necessary to explain 
every detail to them. 

" Early on Thursday morning Mr. Phillips 
arrived from San Salvador, our boy Vita coming 
with him. Soon afterwards nearly all our Church 
members followed. After they had rested a little 
we went down to the water. At the bottom of a 
very steep hill runs a watercourse, obstructed at 
one point by very large stones, forming a natural 
basin, into which a spring rises, so that there is 
water in the basin even when the course is dry, 
as it is now. A steep cliff almost surrounds the 
basin, covered with ferns and tropical growths, 
the branches of trees interlacing overhead. The 
congregation sat on the sides of this dell, which 
formed a splendid meeting-place, Tom standing 
on one of the big stones in the middle. 



140 SECOND TERM AT 

" The hymn sounded grandly ; Kivitidi prayed ; 
Tom explained the rite, and then baptized the 
candidates, beginning with Vita, of whom you will 
have read in the Herald. He took the first place, 
that the others might see what was required. He 
was followed by the chief, and the other man, and 
then came the two women, one of them very old 
and thin and shrivelled, the other quite a young 
girl. After the benediction we climbed up the hill 
and returned to the town, making our way to the 
little meeting-house, where we celebrated the 
Lord s Supper. The Church members and those 
newly baptized half filled the house, but other 
people crowded in, or sat round the doors, curious 
to see what we were doing. Mr. Phillips presided 
and gave the right hand of fellowship to the five 
new members. Nlekai and Kalendenda offered 
prayer, and then after a few words of explanation 
from Kivitidi we ate and drank together the 
memorials of dying Love. We hope soon to 
baptize three more at least. 

"Pray for these new converts that they may 
be kept faithful. At present things go smoothly 
with them. The fact that their chief is a humble 
Christian makes all the difference, and saves 
them from many trials and temptations. Only 
one thing marred our pleasure. Mr. Phillips 
brought news of a terrible calamity which had 
happened in San Salvador the day before. A 
young man who has been one of our hammock- 
bearers from the beginning of the Mission, Ntoni, 
was overtaken by one of the grass fires while 
hunting, and horribly burnt. Mr. Phillips did 
what he could, but the poor patient died in great 



1892] SAN SALVADOR 141 

agony the same evening, and upon our return 
from Mbanza Mputu the funeral took place. He 
had not professed faith in Christ, but he knew 
the gospel well, and one of our Christians, who 
was with him when he died, says that he spoke 
much about his sins and prayed for forgive 
ness for Jesus sake. We can but leave him 
with God, assured that He Who received the 
dying thief will never turn away from a dying 
sinner s cry. 

" So many horrid things have happened lately. 
The other day in a town close by, a man beat his 
wife to death. The chief of Mbanza Mputu has 
been over to the Resident about the matter, and 
is doing his best to find the man, who has run 
away. It seems that he was drunk with palm 
wine and had been beating his wives all the 
evening. The palm wine drinking has been 
dreadful this season, the yield has been so plenti 
ful. We are trying to get our boys to leave off 
taking it altogether, but it is very difficult to teach 
them self-denial for the sake of others." 

While she was writing this letter, news was on 
the way to Congo destined to fill the heart of 
Mrs. Lewis with heavy sorrow, sorrow which her 
husband would share profoundly, and in which 
all our Congo missionaries would have their part. 
Some few months earlier, in writing to Miss 
Hartland, Mrs. Lewis said : " I am sure we shall 
never cease to thank God for all the love and 
kindness which dear mother and you have shown 
to us. Having lost our own mothers, we have 
appreciated her love all the more." 



142 SECOND TERM AT 

On September 13th, Mrs. Hartland died. Mrs. 
Lewis s diary for 1892 is missing, and the letter 
or letters in which she poured out her own 
sorrow, and her sympathy with those whom the 
bereavement touched yet more nearly, have not 
come to my hand. Assured that Mrs. Lewis would 
desire some tribute to the " dear mother," who 
loved her so well, to appear in the record of her 
own life, I venture to reprint certain paragraphs 
from a short article which I wrote a few days 
after Mrs. Hartland had entered into rest 1 : 

" After four years of heroic service John Hart- 
land died in Comber s arms, and his mother bowed 
her head, as mothers do. But when she rose 
again, it was not to regard this costly Congo 
Mission with reserved toleration which applauded 
itself for not changing to dislike, but with self- 
devotion and enthusiastic love. The life of her 
son was in the Mission ; so she took it to her 
heart and carried it gently in her bosom before 
God. 

" Mrs. Hartland lived as much upon the Congo 
as in Falkland Road, and was more intimately 
acquainted with the history of the Mission, in 
ternal and external, than perhaps any other 
person, excepting only Mr. Baynes. Almost all 
the missionaries knew her. Before they went 
out they were invited to Falkland Road, and 
when the interview was over they knew them 
selves to be possessed of at least one mother- 
hearted friend. Aware of the secret of her love 
each man and woman honoured her unspoken 
claim to some measure of their filial affection, and 
1 The Missionary Herald, 1892, p. 400, 



1892] SAN SALVADOR 143 

the motherless among them called her " mother." 
Upon returning to this country they went to see 
her, naturally ; and while upon the field many of 
them corresponded with her, receiving letters 
which were like cold water in a thirsty land. 
Many times have I seen her, with hands distorted 
and half paralysed by relentless rheumatism, 
writing painfully and patiently to her friends 
upon the Congo. Her letters were peculiarly 
precious, because they were indited by one who 
understood the work, who loved the workers, and 
believed in God. And so from one quiet heart, 
in one quiet London home, there went forth waves 
of spiritual energy that were felt hundreds of 
miles above Stanley Pool. This was her work. 
She wrote till she could no longer hold the pen ; 
she dictated till she could no longer think sus- 
tainedly by reason of agony and growing weak 
ness ; then she sent messages ; then she murmured 
prayers ; and now she is with Him Who ever 
liveth to make intercession for us. 

" We do not know much about the gates of 
heaven. We do not know whether some vigilant 
angel on the battlements of God s city announces 
with silver trumpet the coming of the enfran 
chised soul. We do not know whether comrades 
and kinsfolk hurry to the gates to welcome and 
congratulate their beloved. We can only dream. 
But if it be so, the sainted heroes of the Congo 
Mission were by the gates last week. 

" Two things were remarkable in Mrs. Hart- 
land s life to all who knew her unselfishness 
and faith, evinced in little things and great. A 
few days before her death I visited her, and, 



144 SECOND TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

leaning over her bed that my voice might reach 
the ear that was growing heavy I noticed four 
exquisite roses lying near her face. She insisted 
that I should take one. In my prayer, I used the 
word doubts, and I shall never forget the quick 
and confident words that followed the Amen - 
I have no doubts. Verily, she has none." 



CHAPTER VIII 

SECOND TERM AT SAN SALVADOR continued 

r 1 1 HOUGH the missionaries craved greater pro- 
JL gress the work of the year 1892 was en 
couraging, and their devotion and their hope 
were unabated. In his official report Mr. Lewis 
records that eleven persons were baptized during 
the year, and that the membership stands at 
forty-seven, a clear increase of nine. The Christ 
mas collection was again made with enthusiasm, 
and concerning this Mr. Lewis writes : " We 
closed the year by making a special effort to seat 
our chapel. We have a spacious native building, 
but it has never been seated, and our few forms 
are next to no good. We suggested that the 
Church and congregation should join in defraying 
the expenses of good pitch-pine seats on iron 
standards, ordered from England. They took it 
up enthusiastically, and last week made a collec 
tion with this object. The meeting was the 
largest we ever had in Congo, and goods to the 
value of 50 were taken. This is more than we 
really needed, but we can use it in some other 
way/ 

nglutiwoman in Africa 1 1 



146 SECOND TERM AT 

The report contains two lines which are signifi 
cant in relation to the work of Mrs. Lewis : 
" The girls school has had no interruption through 
the past year, and the girls have made satisfac 
tory progress. There are sixty-two scholars, four 
of whom are boarders." 

On February 2, 1893, Mrs. Lewis wrote a long 
letter to Miss Hartland reporting a fortnight s 
itineration, made with her husband, in the course 
of which they visited many places where no white 
man had been seen before. The women were 
delighted to find that she could speak with them, 
and she and Mr. Lewis agreed that in most 
places "the women were by far the better part 
of the population." 

In this letter occurs the following interesting 
passage about her girls : 

" You ask in your letter if we have any nice 
bright girls, like the boys. Several other people 
have asked much the same question, and I begin 
to fear that I have not said enough about the 
girls and women. I am so much afraid of giving 
a wrong impression, and have perhaps gone to 
the other extreme. There has been so much fuss 
made at home over these boys that many people 
seem to think them paragons of excellence, and 
that our work lies mainly among them. You see 
when people come out first it is only with the 
boys they have to do, as they alone understand 
English. It takes much longer time to get to 
know the girls and women. Since I have been 
in Africa my work has lain entirely among them, 
and I consider, on the whole, that it is decidedly 
encouraging. 



1893] SAN SALVADOR 147 

" Two of my girls are now teachers, helping us 
in school. Another, who is married to Zwarky, 
Mr. Grenfell s boy, has a very good character 
from every one up river. Yet another who 
married Lo last summer, though not so clever 
with her brains as some, is a dear good girl 
and a splendid nurse. She nursed Mrs. Graham s 
baby, and was most devoted. These four are all 
Christians. Of course we have had some trouble, 
some naughty girls, but they do not exceed the 
boys in that regard ; and although we have many 
more women than men in the Church, we have 
not yet had to exercise discipline on one. Two 
have lately fallen into sin, but have seemed so truly 
penitent that we felt we could only say to them, 
Go, and sin no more. 

"The girls I have in the house now are com 
paratively new. Ntumba, who is engaged to 
Elembe, is a very quiet useful girl who is getting 
on nicely. She has been with us just a year. 
Nsukula, who is engaged to our cook, Manwana, is 
a very bright little girl and, I believe, a Christian. 
She has been in the day school a long time, and can 
read fluently, but has only been in the house a few 
months. Nsunda, who is quite a young woman, 
has been here about six months, and is under our 
protection from her own father. She is very wild, 
but not at all stupid. Then there is Ndungani, 
who has just come. She is the King s daughter 
and is engaged to Vita. She is a very big girl, and 
seems very anxious to learn. Another is just 
coming, Kuvovwa. She has been at school a long 
time, but I fear is rather stupid. However, we 
must see what can be done with her. 



148 SECOND TERM AT 

" Of course our great object in dealing with these 
girls is to lead them to become followers of Jesus 
Christ, and we are very thankful when this is the 
result of our teaching. Unfortunately we can 
never keep them as long as we keep the boys, 
because they get married too soon, according to 
our notions ; but I am very glad if they will only 
wait until they are fairly grown. The marriage 
question in its many aspects is our greatest trouble, 
and that can only be remedied by teaching the 
girls and women, as well as the boys and men, 
to think and act rightly in the matter. Only 
women can do this. It is most important to let 
the girls understand, as I think they do now here 
in San Salvador, that we take them and teach them 
for their own sakes, and not simply because they 
are engaged to certain boys. I go on the principle 
of never keeping a girl against her will, for I have 
only a limited amount of time and strength, and I 
feel it better that they should be spent in training 
a few who wish to learn, than in coercing a larger 
number, retained against their will. Although I 
have to be very strict, I think they like it, and we 
are on the best of terms. I treat them as much as 
possible as I should treat school-children at home. 
Now I think you know most of what there is to 
know about my girls." 

The report said : " The girls school has had no 
interruption through the past year." But the girls 
school and all Mrs. Lewis s work in San Salvador 
were destined to suffer serious interruption full 
soon. At the end of March, 1893, she records that 
her husband has been seriously ill, and that all 
things are packed up for a voyage to Grand Canary, 



1893] SAN SALVADOR 149 

where it is proposed that they shall spend five or 
six weeks, in the hope that so much rest and change 
may effect such restoration as will enable him to 
resume his work without a return to England. 
She is thankful that her own health has been pre 
served, and the general concern displayed by the 
natives in her husband s illness is noted with 
grateful appreciation. The chiefs of neighbouring 
towns have been assiduous in their inquiries, and 
carriers, many more than they would need, have 
eagerly volunteered for the journey to the coast, 
that they might serve those whom they esteem 
highly, though it is the middle of the wet season. 

Mrs. Lewis had received news in advance of a 
plum-pudding which had been despatched in honour 
of her birthday, and says in a postscript to the 
letter containing the foregoing particulars, that 
they are hoping to meet the plum-pudding at 
Tunduwa. They did meet the plum-pudding at 
Tunduwa, but no immediate intimacy ensued. 
It was handed to them just before their steamer 
sailed, and they handed it back to Mr. John 
Pinnock, to be taken care of till the first week in 
July, when they hoped to share the joy of it 
with him, and maybe others. 

On May 10th they arrived at Grand Canary, 
having made the voyage in the steamer Lulu 
Bohlen, which they hoped to catch again upon 
her return from England, as they well liked her 
appointments and her officers. Two days after 
landing Mrs. Lewis reports that Mr. Lewis is much 
better, and that they are comfortably housed in 
an hotel which is made charming by spacious 
gardens ablaze with flowers. The island is not 



150 SECOND TERM AT 

so pretty as Madeira, but much drier, and there 
fore more suitable to their health requirements. 
Her letter continues : 

"This island is, of course, Spanish, and terribly 
priest-ridden. The people are wretched and dirty. 
Oh, the contrast between the miserable shanties 
of Canary, with their dirty, half-naked children, 
and the clean, sweet cottages of Wales ! We went 
into the cathedral the other day, a strange, un 
interesting building, where the priests were dron 
ing the service. The only thing we admired was 
a series of pictures, of more than life-size, illus 
trating "The Way of the Cross." I was glad to 
see them there, and hoped that some poor people 
would derive from them knowledge of Christ s 
love and suffering, which they might not other 
wise obtain. 

" There are crowds of lazy, sleek priests about, 
who grind every possible penny out of these poor 
people. Next to no mission work seems possible 
among them, the restrictions are so many. There 
is the Sailors Institute, for English sailors espe 
cially, and the English church, recently opened, 
for English visitors. I think the Searles do a 
little, and perhaps the English clergyman does ; 
I do not know. But it is very little. There is 
one comfort, we shall have somewhere to go on 
Sunday. There will be the church in the morning ; 
we have promised to go down to tea with the 
Searles ; and in the evening there will be the 
Gospel Service for sailors. I have promised to do 
my best to play the hymns for them. There is 
a man-of-war lying here now, so the sailors, or 
many of them, will be present. I was , asked to 



1883] SAN SALVADOR 151 

speak, as they say the sailors listen better to 
ladies ; but I begged off for next Sunday at least. 
I am not comfortable in speaking to men only." 

As Mr. Lewis grew stronger they were able to 
make interesting excursions into the heart of the 
island, and in the course of a journey to an extinct 
crater received beautiful hospitality at the hands 
of a venerable peasant couple, of which Mrs. Lewis 
gives an idyllic picture. 

The first day of June brought the sojourners no 
little joy in the appearing of Mr. W. C. Parkinson, 
who had so timed a flying visit to Grand Canary 
that he might spend a few days with Mr. and Mrs. 
Lewis. Mr. Parkinson was and is an honoured 
and devoted member of the Committee of the 
Baptist Missionary Society ; he was the Super 
intendent of Camden Road Sunday School, under 
whom Mrs. Lewis served in earlier years, and 
withal an intimate personal friend. Mr. Parkinson 
was accompanied by his daughter May, who, as a 
child, had known Mrs. Lewis in the Sunday School, 
and in the class conducted by Thomas Comber. 
She also was inspired by missionary ideals, and has 
since served the cause of Christ for many years 
on the hard field of Morocco. 

The four following days were golden days 
glowing with the glad, free intercourse of kin 
dred minds, maintained amid delightful physical 
conditions. The happiness passed into memory 
on June 5th, when their friends left, but Mrs. 
Lewis s remark : " We did just enjoy the Parkin 
sons visit. It was splendid, hearing all about 
everybody, and I think they ^enjoyed it too," 
indicates how keen the happiness had been. 



152 SECOND TERM AT 

The stay in Grand Canary had done all that was 
hoped for in mending the health of Mr. Lewis, 
and on June 13th, when the Lulu Bohlen was 
hourly expected, to take them back to Congo, 
Mrs. Lewis wrote a letter to her friend, Miss 
Hartland, which bubbles over with high spirits 
and pulsates with laughter. It contains a long, 
humorous account of an equestrian picnic ex 
pedition, made by the Lewises and certain ac 
quaintances, to a distant part of the island. The 
use of the convenient epithet " equestrian " in 
volves a certain economy of truth, for most of the 
horses were donkeys, and one of them was a mule. 
In fact, there was only one horse, but the reader 
will pardon the inexactitude for the sake of 
euphony. The letter was accompanied by a pencil 
sketch of the cavalcade. Candour compels me to 
confess that the artistry is of the nursery order, 
and that the names written beneath the figures in 
the picture are necessary for identification, save 
in the case of Mr. Lewis, whose long beard, black 
spectacles, and big helmet would enable the reader 
of the epistle to be sure of him at once. I quote 
one paragraph : 

"As we sat waiting for coffee we rested in 
various fashions. Tom lay on the floor with his 
feet on a chair. The other two gentlemen sat in 
an opposite corner, each with his chair tilted up, 
and his feet on another. Our ride had made us 
so lively that we laughed continually. When the 
waiter appeared with the coffee none of your 
sleek waiters in evening dress, but a very rough 
Spanish man in country clothes he asked if Tom 
would have his coffee on the floor. Tom answered 



1893] SAN SALVADOR 153 

Yes. Whereupon Mr. Kennedy laughingly in 
structed the waiter to pour it down his throat. 
And this the obedient fellow was on the point 
of doing, with utmost gravity, evidently regarding 
it as one more freak of those English, who ride 
donkeys and take long walks for pleasure. We 
had a splendid ride back, my donkey keeping up 
with Mr. Kennedy s horse and coming in at a 
gallop, far ahead of all the rest." 

In good health and good heart Mr. and Mrs. 
Lewis left Grand Canary on board the Lulu Bohlen, 
sailing on June 15th, and early in July were safe 
at Tunduwa, greatly cheered by good news of the 
Mission. Their short stay at the base station was 
made memorable by the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. 
Grenfell, who appeared just in time to partake of 
the plum-pudding, which was destined for excep 
tional honour. Writing on July 5th to Miss 
Hartland, Mrs. Lewis says : " We had the plum- 
pudding for dinner to-day, and just before chop - 
time Mr. and Mrs. Grenfell arrived, so they par 
took of it as well. Mr. G. said he hardly dared 
to, but must for your sake. He did not know of 
dear mother s death, as his letters failed to reach 
him and were sent back here. He is now reading 
them all. Though he looks very well, he has been 
ailing for some days. We were ardently hoping 
that he would come before we left, as was Mr. 
Forfeitt. So the Pinnocks, Messrs. Forfeitt, Pople, 
and Kirkland, Mr. and Mrs. Grenfell, Mr. and Mrs. 
Roger and ourselves, all ate of your pudding 
and enjoyed it. It was first-rate after all these 
months. I thought you would like to know." 

" San Salvador, August 27th. Since my last letter 



154 SECOND TERM AT 

Messrs. Grenfell and Lawson Porfeitt have been 
here for a flying visit. We were so sorry they 
could not stay over Sunday. It was such a 
pleasure to have them, and they said their coming 
did them both good. Mr. Grenfell stayed at Mr 
Graham s house, and Mr. Forfeitt with us, but 
they both chopped here, and we had welcome 
talk with them about many matters. They are 
both special favourites with us. We were sorry 
Mrs. Grenfell could not come, but she had not 
returned from the Cameroons." 

A fuller account of this visit is given in "The 
Life of George Grenfell" (page 338), including a 
letter from him, in which he refers to the great 
change which had come over the place since 
his previous visit, and proceeds : " The Church 
members number forty-nine ; the scholars in re 
gular attendance, about twice that number, the 
girls being more numerous than the boys ; a fact 
largely due to the marked influence of Mrs. Lewis, 
who is a splendid missionary." 

" October 31. The commodity, time, has been 
very scarce with me lately. You may possibly 
have heard that Mrs. Phillips had a son on the 
7th of this month. He is a darling little fellow, 
and of course I love him muchly, as you know my 
predilections in that line. Mrs. Phillips is getting 
on nicely. I have just returned from bathing 
baby, and getting her up. She is now sitting on 
her piazza. 

" February 5, 1894. If you only knew how busy 
I am you would forgive a short letter I am sure. 
I will just tell you in detail of my day s work and 
then you will know how time flies. Directly after 



1894] SAN SALVADOR 155 

breakfast this morning came prayers with the 
girls, then I gave out chop to them and the small 
boys, and arranged dinner for ourselves with the 
cook. After this I dispensed medicine to over 
sixty people, and you can imagine what a job this 
is. Next came conversation with some Christian 
women who had come over from two other towns 
for Communion yesterday, and had many things 
to discuss before they went back. Then I took 
a class of inquirers from one of these towns, 
consisting of six women. By that time it was 
after twelve, noon. 

" Just as I was coming to sit down quietly, one 
of my house-girls came to speak to me. So I sat 
down in my bedroom to listen to the good news 
that she wished to give her heart to Christ. 
While she was speaking another girl came on the 
same errand. When I got to the sitting-room 
I found Tom talking to one of our boys, one of 
those everlasting marriage palavers which is not 
settled yet. By that time there were ten minutes 
left before dinner, after which we get an hour s 
rest, and need it, especially just now when the 
weather is broiling in the middle of the day. 
After rest and a cup of tea I wrote a note to one 
of our boys at Tunduwa about another matri 
monial affair, and then went to school for two 
hours. When I came out I found Mr. Pople in 
fever and Tom looking after him. Then I took 
a quarter of an hour s stroll outside, and have 
been writing ever since tea. I was forced to 
write many letters for this mail. This is a fair 
sample of a day. Only the evenings are usually 
given to teaching, sewing, or translating. 



156 SECOND TERM AT 

" We had a delightful baptismal service last 
week, when five persons from one town, one from 
Mbanza Mputu, and two of my schoolgirls con 
fessed Christ. I have written in full about the 
candidates to Mr. Baynes, so perhaps you may see 
the letter in the Herald. . . . We are so delighted 
to hear about the Congo Sale. You have done 
splendidly this year ! " 

"May "22nd. [To a correspondent.] 

"There is no doubt we shall require them 
[unmarried women missionaries] by and by as the 
Mission develops. At present all the work among 
women is done by missionaries wives. I should 
say the chief qualifications for a woman missionary, 
either married or single after, of course, those 
which are spiritual are, first, and most essential, 
really good health and a sound constitution, then, 
common sense, a sound knowledge of all household 
matters including the making of clothes, aptness 
to teach, and a cheerful, contented disposition. 
These, with a large stock of patience, a heart full 
of love, some knowledge of nursing and medicine 
if possible, and a single eye to the glory of God, 
will, I think, make an ideal missionary. Alas ! 
we feel we fall far short of this ideal, but it is well 
to aim high. 1 have always regarded Mrs. Mary 
Moffat as my model, and have many times taken 
ideas from her life and work. I think one who is 
to become the wife of a missionary could not do 
better than study her life. . . . 

"Now a little about our work. We are very 
short-handed just now. My husband and I are 
quite alone, and are likely to be for some time. 



1894] SAN SALVADOR 157 

We are always busy, and cannot do half the work. 
We have at this station a native Church of fifty- 
nine members, thirteen of whom belong to other 
towns. These, we believe, are Christians, but the 
majority cannot read, and they all need constant 
teaching and supervision. Then we have a boys 
school of sixty, which meets every morning, and 
a girls school in the afternoon with eighty-five 
names on the books. Of course some of these are 
irregular, so that the average attendance would be 
a hundred and ten boys and girls. Then we have 
schools in three other towns. Two young men 
who were our personal boys are in charge of them, 
and there are over a hundred and twenty people 
in attendance. In all our schools there are a good 
many who are no longer children, but who are 
anxious to learn to read. 

" Three times a week I have a dispensary, giving 
medicines to all who come. I have about one 
hundred and fifty patients weekly, sometimes 
more. Some are very sad cases for which we can 
do little. Others we are able to help and some 
times to cure. We have the boys and girls living 
with us who are trained to work in different ways. 
You can imagine that all this with classes, services, 
visitations of the sick and others in their own 
houses, keeps our hands pretty full. But we long so 
intensely to go about among the other towns and 
preach the Good Tidings. Several of these towns 
are visited on Sundays by the native Christians, 
but only those that are within walking distance, 
and there are scores beyond, speaking the same 
language which would gladly welcome us, but we 
cannot go for lack of helpers. If only the young 



158 SECOND TERM AT 

men of England could really know the greatness 
of the work, and the scarcity of the workers, I am 
sure many would willingly offer themselves. One 
qualification I omitted to mention, needed by men 
and women, a good education. We do not need 
merely good people, but those who can influentially 
lead others. For after all Africa must be evange 
lised by her own people." 

" September 5th. (To Mrs. J. Jenkyn Brown. ) 
You ask if the deaths occurred near us. Both of 
the brethren [Messrs. Oram and Balfern] were well 
known to us, but one died at our farthest station 
[Bopoto], hundreds of miles distant, and the other 
on his way home, at Madeira. It is a rare thing 
for us to see any of our colleagues from the other 
stations. We are quite out of the world here, even 
the Congo world. It is a drawback in some 
respects, but there are advantages, and we are so 
busy that we have no time to pine for society. 
Still it would be very pleasant to see our friends 
sometimes, and the idea of being spirited over to 
Birmingham for rest and petting is most alluring. 
But when we look around and see just our two 
selves, and our fellow-missionary, Mr. Graham, 
with every other influence, in the place and about 
it for hundreds of miles, telling against truth and 
righteousness, we can only hope and pray to be 
allowed to remain and work here. 

" October 4th. Your last letter was written from 
Devonshire and called up visions of lovely country 
walks which I should not mind sharing if only one 
could fly backwards and forwards. But there is no 
holiday for us. For the last ten days or so we 
have been busier than ever. We have been having 



1894] SAN SALVADOR 159 

a grand vaccination frolic. A few weeks ago our 
Resident left to be promoted to a better place. 
He wrote back from Noki to Tom, and sent him 
some tubes of vaccine. Most of it was bad, as 
it usually is by the time it comes here, but one 
tube was good, from which we vaccinated our 
house-children ; then from them some of the out 
side people, and so on. The news soon spread, 
and people came in crowds. Every morning 
hundreds are to be seen entering the station. 
We all go to chapel and have prayers first ; then 
I take all the medical work, while Tom and Mr. 
Graham go at it as hard as they can. You can 
imagine it is no play. Yesterday I gave medicine 
to over fifty people while they vaccinated 402 ! 
225 were done to-day. This has been going on 
for nearly a fortnight, and still there s more to 
follow. 

" The people come from towns far and near, 
for they are terribly afraid of smallpox, and 
vaccination is something tangible which they 
can understand. So many are quite strangers, 
knowing nothing of God s palaver, that it is 
very difficult to keep order at prayers. Indeed, 
it is hard to get silence to begin, for we have 
had the chapel crowded out. I am afraid they 
don t take much in, at just one service. Still, it 
prepares the way for them . to listen next time. 
Up till now the cases have numbered 1,651. 

" The rains have just begun, and Tom is busy 
with his garden. On Saturday and Sunday he had 
a touch of liver trouble, and had to keep quiet 
for a couple of days. He is all right again 
now. I am thankful to say Mr. Graham and 



160 SECOND TERM AT 

I are well too. We hear some talk of Mr. 
Phillips coming back soon after the new year as 
his time will be up, but Mrs. P. is not coming, 
and we are very much afraid Mrs. Graham won t 
come either. We are waiting anxiously for this 
mail to hear something definite. I don t mind 
much if my health keeps good except that there 
might be so much more done. Really my health 
is wonderful considering everything. I feel I 
can t be thankful enough for it. 

" We are having a hard fight here now, there 
are many forces of evil against us. Some of 
those who have been trained in the Mission are 
doing their very best to keep people away from 
us and our meetings, and trying hard to destroy 
and lead into sin those who do come. Still we 
have God on our side, and in spite of them all 
the work goes on. We have large meetings, good 
schools, and many people coming to be taught. 
Mr. Graham has been visiting the out-stations 
since I wrote last. He was very pleased with 
the work. He had not seen them before. 

" November 23rd. There is a great deal of opposi 
tion now to girls coming into the station, because 
the men find that they will not be slaves after 
wards. Only those who really wish to live in 
a decent fashion will allow their girls to come, 
and even when they do there is often difficulty 
with their families. . . . But the conceit of these 
people, especially the young men and big boys, 
is astonishing. It is beyond measure ! There is 
just that air about them : I m as good as you. 
They are not at all the poor humble negroes 
whom one reads about in story-books. They 



1894-5] SAN SALVADOR 161 

are very different even from the Cameroons 
people in their behaviour to the white man. 
There is one good thing about it. I think it will 
be easy to develop independent, self-supporting 
Churches as soon as we can find people to take 
the leadership. 

" December 16th. You said in your last letter 
that there will always be a welcome for us at 
34. Thank you very much for the assurance. 
I am afraid we shall come to claim it earlier than 
we had expected. We did hope to stay out 
another year, but Tom is sick in bed with one 
of his old attacks, the second he has had, and 
a very severe one. So we dare not risk another, 
and shall leave as soon as there is some one 
with Mr. Graham. We shall not come to 
England though, until May, all being well, but 
shall stay at Madeira, to avoid east winds, 
and to learn Portuguese, which we badly need 
here." 



On January 16, 1895, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis left 
San Salvador, and after a tedious voyage reached 
Grand Canary on March 20. There they were 
compelled to wait eight days, and the subsequent 
passage to Madeira proved frightfully rough and 
perilous. They arrived much knocked about, but 
not permanently damaged by the buffeting. 
Their friend Mr. Parkinson, who had called upon 
them at Grand Canary in the previous year, 
dropped in again at Funchal, and remained with 
them a week, to the great augmentation of their 
pleasure and their cheer, but whether or not to 

Englishwoman in Africa, 1^ 



162 SECOND TERM AT 

the advantage of their projected study of the 
Portuguese language I cannot say. 

Early in May they were in London, and found 
a temporary home in the near vicinity of the 
church which Mr. Lewis had come to regard 
with affection akin to that long cherished by 
his wife. 

In the following month, Mrs. Lewis had an 
important interview with Mr. Baynes respecting 
the work of women missionaries on the Congo, 
and the advisability of allowing unmarried women 
to join the staff. She was of opinion that this 
should be done when the Committee had been 
educated to adopt right lines in the matter, 
concerning which her judgments were very 
definitely formulated. Suffice it here to say 
that ultimately her recommendations have been 
almost exactly embodied in practice. 

At the end of July, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, ac 
companied by their niece, Miss Eva Percival, joined 
Mr. and the Misses Hartland at Penmaenmawr, 
and began a holiday in North Wales which was 
ever remembered with enthusiasm. Among the 
pious pilgrimages of this sojourn in the hill 
country was one to the inn at which Mrs. Lewis s 
father and mother spent their honeymoon, and 
another to the churchyard at Maentwrog where 
her grandparents and one of her uncles were 
buried. 

As the year drew to its close, Mr. and Mrs. 
Lewis were both in the full swing of deputation 
work, and in a letter dated December 16th, Mrs. 
Lewis states that she and her husband have each 
had fourteen meetings at Loughborough within 



1896] SAN SALVADOR 163 

one week. Their programme included a five weeks 
working tour in Scotland, in the interests of 
the Mission ; and after many labours there came 
a spell of strenuous rest in Switzerland, of which 
no other record has reached my hand than the 
following enthusiastic picture-postcard communica 
tion, addressed to Miss Ethel Percival : 

" Chamonix, June 9th. Here we are in the 
midst of glories too big for words. Mont Blanc 
showed us his head yesterday. Such a sight ! 
This morning we walked over the Glacier du 
Borson. Had to start by climbing a long ladder, 
then steps cut in the ice just big enough for one 
foot woollen socks over our boots. Splendid 
walk there and back through pine woods smelling 
deliciously ! Waterfalls, mountains, streams, and 
flowers in abundance. Love to all. Tell Eva I 
have got my mountain spirits on. . . . To-morrow 
we go to see another glacier, bigger and farther 
off. I go on a dear beast." 

The furlough with its manifold labours and 
spells of recreation which constitute the "rest 
and change" which missionaries come home to 
enjoy, wore to its close. Public and private fare 
wells were spoken, and on Saturday, July 4th, Mr. 
and Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. White, Mr. Wherrett, and 
Mr. Gardiner of another mission, left London for 
Antwerp. Mr. Parkinson accompanied them upon 
this first stage of their journey. Sunday was 
spent in Antwerp, where they attended services 
at the Seamen s Church and visited St. Paul s and 
the Cathedral. On Monday Mr. Parkinson took 
the whole party to Brussels for the day, but on 
returning to Antwerp had to say " goodbye " 



164 SECOND TERM AT SAN SALVADOR 

without waiting to see them off. They were sorry 
at the leave-taking, and would fain have had his 
company all the way, as I, who have had the 
privilege of travelling with him more than once, 
can well believe. 

But if Mr. Parkinson did not see them off 
a good many other people did. Their ship was 
a new one, named Albertville, after the Crown 
Prince. When she loosed from the quay flags 
were flying, bells ringing, bands playing, all the 
craft in the river ablaze with bunting, and 
"all Antwerp" at the riverside to see the spec 
tacle ; for the Crown Prince himself had come 
aboard, and ten nuns and two priests bound 
for Africa had embarked in procession, led by 
two dignitaries of the Church wearing gorgeous 
apparel. As the Albertville dropped down the 
Scheldt " music played while His Serene Highness 
was pleased to eat his victuals." At Flushing the 
Crown Prince and the bishops left the ship with 
ceremonious adieux and episcopal benedictions. 
It was all glorious and affecting, but left somewhat 
to be desired. The music which cheered the Prince 
at his banquet failed to satisfy the cravings of 
hungry English missionaries, and Mrs. Lewis 
ruefully records in her journal that they did not 
get their lunch until four o clock. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE BUILDING OF THE NEW CHAPEL AT SAN 
SALVADOR, AND OTHER MATTERS 

r M HE voyagers reached Matadi safely on Sunday, 
-L August 2nd, and before going to San Salvador 
made the journey to Stanley Pool to attend meet 
ings of the local committee. They found great 
refreshment in converse with their colleagues, and 
Mrs. Lewis wrote a long letter containing brief, 
kindly notes concerning every one of them. The 
return journey was made in the company of Mr. 
and Mrs. Lawson Forfeitt and included a brief but 
happy stay at Wathen. Mr. Forfeitt has given me 
an idyllic picture of a Sunday evening encamp 
ment upon a hillside, where, in ideal natural con 
ditions, the travellers worshipped God in informal 
service and read together one of Dr. Maclaren s 
sermons. Upon reference to Mrs. Lewis s journal 
I find the date of this incident was August 30th, 
and the reading of the sermon is mentioned. 

San Salvador was reached on Wednesday, 
September 9th, and Mr. and Mrs. Lewis forthwith 
settled down to their customary round of duties. 
In October they made a journey of visitation to 
the outposts, and one incident points the moral 

165 



166 BUILDING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

that we appreciate our privileges when we are on 
the point of losing them. The people of Mawunze, 
among whom Vita and his wife had been working, 
had proved apathetic to such a degree that it was 
determined to withdraw Vita, for other towns 
were clamouring for a teacher. As soon as this 
decision was known all Mawunze turned out in a 
fit of penitence and besought that Vita might be 
allowed to remain, promising all manner of 
amendment. In the end he left for a season with 
the understanding that if the newly awakened 
ardour were maintained he should return. 

In November the town of San Salvador was 
plunged into excitement by the sudden death of 
the King, following a flagrantly nefarious piece of 
conduct, the culmination of an evil course. To the 
great indignation of Mrs. Lewis and her colleagues 
the Resident consented to wink at the following of 
certain heathen and illegal customs in the observ 
ance of the obsequies. It was peculiarly painful to 
Mrs. Lewis that certain of her women friends and 
converts, wives of the deceased King, would have 
to sit all day long for months in a house with the 
corpse, never going out except at night. The only 
concession secured was that those who were pro 
fessed Christians should be permitted to attend 
the services of the Mission. 

Matter for discouragement and encouragement 
appears in the following extracts from a letter to 
Miss Hartland dated December 21, 1896: 

" The dreadful thing with these children is their 
propensity to steal. E. is just the same as D., 
and so are L. and M. at the other houses. We 
have tried everything with them admonition, 



1896] AT SAN SALVADOR 167 

punishments of various kinds but nothing has 
any effect. Can you suggest a remedy ? We have 
even bribed, but to no purpose. Steal they will, 
and some of them lie on the top. If any one has 
doubts about original sin let him come here ! 

" B. is a regular Topsy. She informed Mrs. 
Graham once, who was trying to talk to her 
seriously, that she didn t want to go to heaven ; 
she should prefer going to the other place. Isn t 
it dreadful ? What are you to do with a child like 
that ? One of Mr. Hawker s sweet little angels of 
seven ! ! ! None of the black children would say 
that, though they do just as bad things. She is a 
mulatto. I do hope she may be converted, for she 
is very pretty, unfortunately for her, and what 
will become of her I can t think. She can read 
nicely, but is not very clever otherwise. . . . You 
will be glad to know that the chief of Mbanza 
Mputu refused to apply for the throne here after 
the death of the King, because it would entail his 
becoming a Roman Catholic. I think it was a fine 
evidence of sincerity, for he was really the rightful 
heir. . . . Another thing you will be interested to 
hear. When we were at Mbanza Mputu a fort 
night ago, Matata brought a man to Tom, saying 
he came from his town of Bangu (near the Arth- 
ington Falls, you know), and he wanted to come 
to learn more about God s palaver. When Tom 
began to ask him questions, it turned out that 
he first heard the Gospel from John [HartlandJ 
when he went to the falls with Matata, and that 
he was sent up to Manyanga with a message when 
John was ill there. He seems a very hopeful 
inquirer, and thus the seed sown so many years 



168 BUILDING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

ago seems to be bearing fruit now. It is an en 
couragement, too, to us, as one never knows how 
even one visit to a town may be the means of 
awakening some hearers to a sense of their need." 

Early in the year 1897, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were 
again engaged in visiting the out-stations. In 
April San Salvador is visited by mumps, in epi 
demic form, and Mrs. Lewis contracts the disease 
in the course of her work among the people. 
About this time she is filled with sorrow by the 
death of Mr. Pople at Tumba; and, two months 
later, she and all friends of the Mission are again 
plunged into mourning by the death of Mr. White 
at Yakusu. In July she is away at Nkoko, con 
cerned in the appointment of a new teacher 
Manwana, one of their first boys. And in the 
following month mention is made of the under 
taking which gives the title to this chapter. 

" August 18th. (To Miss Ethel Percival.) In San 
Salvador the sickness is dreadful, and hardly a day 
passes without a death. Uncle and Mr. Phillips 
are continually at funerals, and we don t hear of 
all those who are buried by the Padres, or in 
country fashion as heathens. The Catholics are 
beginning to restore the old cathedral. 1 I am 
sorry, as they have spoilt the beautiful ruins 
the only pretty thing in the place. And they 
won t do it properly. It will be a very small, 
insignificant place when it is finished. Of course 
it is to save trouble, for one thing, as some of 
the walls are already there. We hope to build 
our new chapel next dry season, all being well. 
Uncle is busy with plans now. That will be very 
1 See Appendix, Note D. 



1897] AT SAN SALVADOR 169 

much larger. By the way, you would love our 
cat ! She has two dear little kittens. She had 
five but I draw a curtain ! These two are 
sweet ! Sandy we shall keep ; Tiger goes to Mrs. P. 
But Mrs. Tabitha is nearly human in the way she 
goes on. We put her in the medicine-room on the 
piazza at night; but as soon as our door is open 
in the morning she carries her two babies to their 
day nursery in our bedroom. She much regrets 
that they are not allowed there at night, and 
protested loudly when we came home, for she had 
been allowed to keep house in our absence. She 
likes to be near us, though she does not like being 
nursed." 

Early in October Mrs. Lewis reports the glad 
and ceremonial welcome accorded to a new col 
league, Mr. Adams, and a journey of itineration 
in which she and Mr. Lewis were accompanied 
by him. A striking incident occurred in the 
course of this tour. As they were on the point 
of leaving one town certain women came and laid 
a bundle of fetishes before her, saying, " Here are 
the things which tempt us." She had not spoken 
of fetishes, but they had made practical application 
of her words. 

"November 25th. I think I told you that the 
Resident and priests were starting to rebuild the 
cathedral. They laid the foundation-stone, with 
their names on it, and built very thick stone walls. 
But a few days ago, lo, and behold, in the walls 
appeared two great cracks, and the workmen were 
sent off in a great hurry lest the whole thing 
should collapse upon the top of them. They had 
built above rotten graves and without sufficient 



170 BUILDING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

foundation. So it is left now, and I very much 
doubt if it will ever get finished. The King and 
the people are rather wild because the priests 
have been forcing them to pay for it, taking a 
part of the King s monthly allowance. They have 
just managed to spoil the beauty of the old ruins, 
though. By the way, one of you speaks about 
the future King being in our school. He was in 
our school ; but as soon as he was appointed to be 
King he was taken away to stay with the Resident, 
treated like one of themselves, and sent to the 
Padres school. Now he has been sent to school 
at Loanda, and they say in a little while he will 
go to Portugal. He was perfectly spoilt before he 
left here. He will learn at Loanda every conceiv 
able kind of wickedness. So I am afraid he is 
more likely to be a curse than a blessing when 
he returns. However, sufficient unto the day is 
the evil thereof. We must trust that in some way 
things will be overruled for good." 

Some weeks after the foregoing paragraphs were 
written, the tottering walls of the new cathedral 
crashed down in a storm. 

" December 26th. The new chapel is not yet in 
process of building. We are only getting things 
ready. The collection is coming in well this year, 
and we hope to be quite prepared to commence 
the work at the beginning of the dry season, next 
May. Tom is architect, and I suppose will be 
builder also. It will be a big job." 

"February 7th. (To Miss Ethel Percival.) Things 
go on much the same here. It is really difficult to 
write about anything. 

" We have been reading in odd times a book 



1898] AT SAN SALVADOR 171 

called The Sowers, by the author of the Tents 
of Kedar. It is good and rather exciting, but it 
takes us a long time to get through a book unless 
we are ill. Did I tell you that Uncle is busy 
building a dispensary among other things ? It 
will be a nice little building when finished one 
side for men and the other for women, which 
latter will be my domain, so I am watching it 
with great interest. At present I have to dis 
pense from our own house, which takes up room, 
moreover the smell is not always pleasant. If 
you were to see some of the awful sores I don t 
know what you would say ! I think I told you 
the Resident s wife has a baby. He is six months 
old now, and I nurse him occasionally. He is a 
dear. I am his medical attendant. The moment 
anything is the matter with him they send off 
for me. Poor little chap, it s hard on a baby 
here, though the Portuguese don t feel it as 
we do." 

" March 27th. What will you say when I tell 
you there is every likelihood of our leaving San 
Salvador and going to plant a new station ? For 
a long time Mr. Bentley has had a scheme on 
foot for placing a new station in a district some 
eighty miles N.E. from here called Zombo. It is 
very populous and is a great trading centre. The 
people speak nearly the same language as here so 
books, &c., would be all ready. At first there were 
obstacles in the way, but we are all agreed now 
as to the advisability of the plan. There is 
nothing definitely settled yet, but we hear that 
Mr. Baynes is in favour of it, and that if the 
Committee agree, we shall be going there with 



172 BUILDING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

John Pinnock, as we and he have offered. It 
will be nice to have him for a colleague, as we 
shall all be from Camden, and the station will be 
a memorial to Tom Comber. I hope that Camden 
folks will feel a special interest in it from the 
first. Tom and I hope to go there in June to 
see the place and people, and to study the pros 
pects generally. Sometimes some people from 
Zombo come here as carriers, otherwise there 
has been no evangelistic work done there. Mr. 
Bentley paid a visit there two or three years 
ago, and Mr. Phillips made a rush to one town 
when we were at home. The district is under 
Portuguese rule, and there is a Resident, and a 
Portuguese trader who used to be here. But 
it is a very large district with room for no 
end of work. The priests have not gone there 
yet. I wonder if they will follow. It will be 
beginning again quite at the beginning and we 
shall be farther away from civilisation even than 
here ; but by means of the railway we shall be 
able to get to Matadi in case of need in about 
the same time as from San Salvador, for Tumba 
is about as far from Zombo as we are, and then 
there is only a day s journey in the train. When 
we go there I shall be able to tell you all about 
it ; until then this is all I know. Tom is busy 
with the new chapel and it is getting on fast. 
He hopes to finish that work before we leave 
permanently. Of course we shall regret leaving 
here for many things, but we wish to go there 
very much and shall be very disappointed if any 
thing prevents now. Well, these are our plans, 
but the future is in God s hands, and He will order 



1898] AT SAN SALVADOR 173 

everything for the extension of His Kingdom in 
this dark land." 

"April llth. (A circular letter.) I expect you 
will be looking for another letter from me by now, 
so I am writing to tell you about the commence 
ment of our new chapel. For eleven years we 
have met in a house made entirely of native 
materials with a mud floor. It has been repaired 
a great many times, and now shows signs that it 
will not last much longer. We have been collect 
ing money for the erection of a new permanent 
chapel for the last four years, each New Year s 
collection being set apart for that purpose. At 
the beginning of this year the people made a great 
effort, and brought a larger amount than in any 
previous year, so that we felt justified in beginning 
to build. We hope by the end of this year to have 
enough to complete it, as it must be opened free 
of debt. Mr. Lewis undertook the task of planning 
and directing the work, and much time and labour 
it cost him, for you must remember that we have 
no really skilled workmen. There are one or two 
pretty fair bricklayers, but they can build nothing 
more elaborate than a plain square wall. Many 
of the tools, too, he has had to make himself, in 
the smithy. Mr. Lewis drew up a plan and 
decided to build a stone chapel capable of seating 
five hundred comfortably. The next thing was 
to get the stones. There was an old ruined wall, 
a part of the old monastery, which was getting 
dangerous to passers-by, so that came down and 
supplied a good many ; then there is the old stone 
house which the first missionaries built now fast 
going to ruin, that is supplying a good many more. 



174 BUILDING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

All the large stones in and about the station were 
gathered together, and then the builders began to 
make the foundations. It occurred to us that it 
would be nice to have a stone-laying ceremony. 
Something that would draw the people together, 
make them feel that it was their work, and give 
them something to look back upon in years to 
come. To-day the great event has taken place and 
I am sure it will be a red-letter day in the lives of 
many. I have never seen them so thoroughly 
interested in anything. 

",It was decided that Mrs. Phillips and I should 
each have the honour of laying a memorial stone. 
Mr. Lewis and his men chose two nice grey stones, 
upon which he cut our initials and the date of 
laying. He also made two pretty little new 
trowels, and got everything ready and fitted for 
this morning s ceremony. 

" Mr. Phillips, too, was busy. He composed a 
special hymn and tune, and taught the people to 
sing it. He also got programmes printed, sufficient 
to give to all who could read. Meanwhile the 
people had not been idle. Down at the bottom of 
the hill is a little stream where there are very fine 
grey stones. We asked every one to bring a stone, 
and every day some people were to be seen going 
down to fetch them, until yesterday there was 
hardly a house from which any one came to our 
Mission, but there lay one or more stones outside 
it, waiting for the morrow. Yesterday morning 
after service, when Mr. Lewis announced the 
meeting of to-day, to our surprise the people 
burst out in loud applause, round after round of 
clapping, and it was some time before we could 



1898] AT SAN SALVADOR 175 

get sufficient quiet to dismiss them. Just now it 
is the middle of the wet season, so we were a little 
anxious about the weather. We were greatly 
rejoiced this morning to find a beautiful bright 
sunshiny day with a pleasant breeze keeping it 
a little cool. Every one was astir early, and at 
half -past eight the bell rang and we five mission 
aries all went over to the site of the new chapel. 
Then from all directions came women and girls 
carrying stones on their heads. Now came one 
with a stone balanced on her head, a baby tied on 
her back, and a bunch of beads (Congo money) in 
her hand ; then a little mite of a child with a stone 
clutched tight with both hands, then women and 
girls of all sorts and sizes down to the tiny tots 
in the infants class, but each with her stone, 
which was deposited in front of the missionaries. 
Soon from a little distance came the strains of a 
hymn, boys and men s voices joining in singing 
All hail the power of Jesus name in the Congo 
language, and as we looked we saw a long pro 
cession of men and boys, each carrying a stone, 
coming from the opposite direction, Mr. Adams, 
who had arranged this little incident, bringing up 
the rear. As they reached the place each put 
down his stone, and then all stood round singing 
lustily till the hymn was finished. By this time 
fully five hundred people were gathered together. 
Quiet was called for, and the service began with 
a short prayer by Mr. Lewis, then a hymn which 
was heartily sung, Mr. Phillips presiding at the 
harmonium. Mr. Lewis read a few verses telling 
how Solomon prepared to build the temple, Mr. 
Phillips spoke about the history of the Mission from 



176 BUILDING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

the time Messrs. Grenfell and Comber came here 
in 1878 when they used to meet under the old 
tree in the palaver ground up till now, and drew 
some lessons from it. Then came the ceremony: 
Mr. Lewis presented me with the trowel, helped 
me to lay the stone, did the same for Mrs. Phillips, 
and we declared them Well and truly laid to the 
glory of God. Behind each stone was deposited 
a sealed bottle containing the current number of 
our magazine, which gives an account of the for 
mation and growth of the Church here, with full 
details of the station, staff, native teachers, &c., 
also a programme of to-day s proceedings. After 
the stone-laying, freewill offerings were laid upon 
them ; a great number of people pressed forward 
with beads and cloth, one woman with a live fowl, 
and others with papers giving part of their wages. 
Then Mr. Lewis offered prayer, asking God s 
blessing on all, and His help to complete the work, 
so that in years to come, when all we shall have 
passed away, many may meet within its walls to 
hear the good news of a Father s and a Saviour s 
love. Then with all our hearts and voices we sang 
a translation of O er the gloomy hills of dark 
ness to old Calcutta. Mr. Adams pronounced the 
Benediction, and we all dispersed after the scene 
had been photographed. 

" At the end of next month my husband and 
I hope to start on a long journey to a country 
where no missionary has been before. We expect 
to be away many weeks, so you will not hear from 
me for some little time probably. I shall hope to 
write and tell you about it on our return. Mean 
while will you pray for us that God may give us 



1898] AT SAN SALVADOR 177 

favour in the sight of the people and lead us to a 
place which may become another centre of light 
in this dark land." 

" May 19th. There has been quite a smallpox 
scare in this town. There have been eight cases, 
all at the same time. A house has been built out 
side the town to accommodate them. There have 
been no fresh cases for about ten days now, so we 
hope it is over ; but the people are so foolish. 
Although they are terribly afraid of it, yet they 
will not take any precautions, and hide cases if 
they possibly can. We have had to be very care 
ful with the children in the station, not allowing 
them to go visiting in the town, and we have 
stopped inquirers and others coming from other 
towns, so as not to spread the mischief. Tom 
actually found the King hiding a boy with it in 
his house. Of course he sent him at once to the 
Resident. 

"The new chapel is getting on slowly. Tom s 
illness has not helped it. Next week, if well, we 
shall be very busy. Going away for so long and 
not knowing exactly whither we go is a big job, 
and we shall need to take a great many things 
with us." 

" August 4th. The girls school flourishes exceed 
ingly, and now we are getting all the little children, 
the children of those we taught in years gone by. 
It is so nice to see the little tots coming in, and 
they really like coming, and of course will be able 
to learn so much more than those who have only 
two or three years to learn in and who in many 
cases are working hard all day. We have ninety- 
two girls on the books. If we go away I hope 

Eiiglishwoman in Afruxi 13 



they will send another man and his wife out here. 
Of course at Zombo we shall not need another 
lady just yet, as the work will be very gradual 
there. At first we shall have to gain the confi 
dence of the people and that will take some 
time." 

In June Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, with some of 
their boys, made the eventful journey to Zombo, 
which will be fully described in a later chapter. 
After notable adventures, they arrived back safely 
at San Salvador on July 6th, and took up their 
customary work again. For many months, how 
ever, the chapel building was a matter of com 
manding interest, and for Mr. Lewis a matter of 
heavy labour and multiplied anxieties. His wife s 
letters teem with lively and sympathetic references 
to his trials. His workmen, imperfectly skilled, 
need constant supervision. It is passing difficult 
to induce them to take an interest in doing things 
well. Their invincible propensity to "jabber" 
while at work leads them to make mistakes which 
necessitate the pulling down again of that which 
they have built up, and all this with the rainy 
season imminent, making it a matter of moment 
that the stone-laying should be swiftly done. 
When it comes to constructing the arches for 
doors and windows, she fears that Mr. Lewis will 
have much trouble in teaching his craftsmen, for 
no one in San Salvador has made an arch before. 
Yet in spite of all drawbacks, the work goes on. 

Meanwhile they await long and anxiously the 
final consent of the Committee to the Zombo 
Scheme. 

Early in April, 1899, Mrs. Lewis reports with joy 



1899] AT SAN SALVADOR 179 

that the desired consent has been received, and 
gives account of the progress of the building. 

" The chapel will look fine when it is finished. 
The roof is nearly on. It is a year to-day, 
counting by Easter and not by the date, since the 
stones were laid. By the way, we missionaries, 
the Grahams, the Phillipses, and ourselves are 
paying for the pulpit and the baptistery, and 
building them in memory of those who have gone. 
We intend to affix a brass plate recording that 
they are erected in memory of Tom and Minnie 
Comber, John S. Hartland, A. Cowe, S. Silvey, and 
Wilkinson. We thought it would be good for the 
natives not to forget those who have worked and 
died for them." 

Before the month of April closed an event 
occurred which plunged the Mission into deepest 
sorrow. Here follows the account written by 
Mrs. Lewis and addressed to Mr. Baynes. 

"All last week Mrs. Phillips was very unwell, and 
caused us some anxiety, and on Sunday, the 23rd 
inst., fever appeared, which continued in spite of 
all efforts to subdue it. Mrs. Phillips was much 
worse on Tuesday, and we began to fear for her : 
from that time until Wednesday afternoon we did 
everything we could think of, but, although we 
were able to allay the distressing symptoms, the 
inward fever remained, and at 1.45 p.m., on April 
26th, she passed peacefully away. Mrs. Phillips 
was conscious to within an hour of her death, 
a fact for which she was very thankful, and so are 
we. She was able to speak to us words of faith 
and hope, and to send loving messages to all the 
dear ones at home, and to the women and children 



180 BUILDING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

here. At first she was grieved at the thought of 
not seeing her little ones again, and at the thought 
of their childish sorrow when they should learn 
that mother would come home no more. But even 
that passed, and she was able to leave them in the 
care of the Heavenly Father. She had taken such 
an interest in the building of the new chapel, and 
the day before she died asked if it was possible for 
her to go to look at it. On Wednesday, when Mr. 
Lewis came into the room, she said : Ah ! I shall 
never see the bonny chapel after all ! She spoke, 
too, of the work to which we hope to go in Zombo, 
and said she thought she should see us there, and 
hoped we should have great blessing, and was so 
grateful for every little thing done for her, and 
was brave and unselfish to the last. 

" When it became known how ill Mrs. Phillips 
was the greatest concern was evinced by the" 
people. None of the women went to their farms, 
but sat and watched outside the house. When 
all was over, and she lay as in a peaceful sleep, 
with white English roses scattered around, the 
women came in to take a last look at their 
friend ; they burst out into the terrible death 
wail, but when we asked them to desist they 
stopped, and nothing could have shown the 
sorrow and sympathy so much as the absolute 
quiet that reigned through all that sad day and 
the day following. The people all men, women, 
and children did their very utmost to show 
their love and respect. They cleared the path to 
the chapel and to the cemetery, and the next 
morning, when six of the station boys carried 
the coffin into the chapel, it was through two 



1899] AT SAN SALVADOR 181 

long rows of mourners that we passed. Mr. 
Lewis conducted a short service and gave a brief 
address, and all that day a crowd of women sat 
round the coffin until four in the afternoon, 
when the funeral took place in the cemetery 
on the outskirts of the town. Every one was 
most kind. The Resident, the Padres, and the 
representatives of the trading houses all came, 
the Padres even offering their band. Such a 
funeral has never been seen in Congo before, 
and all the way to the grave and back again 
the most reverent silence. Before starting we 
sang a translation of the hymn, Guide me, O 
Thou great Jehovah, and at the grave, Abide 
with me, and then we left our sister asleep in 
Jesus until the day break and the shadows flee away. 
"Mrs. Phillips was one of those quiet, unobtru 
sive workers whose work is not much known 
or appreciated, but we who have been her fellow- 
workers for more than ten years know how real 
was her love for the work, and how often in 
great weariness and pain she did her utmost 
to bring the women and children to the feet of 
Jesus. For the last two years she had very few 
interruptions from illness, and has been able 
to work continuously with me in the school and 
other parts of the work, especially in the Sunday 
School, taking the oversight of the girls depart 
ment, and holding a female teachers preparation 
class. Our hearts are sad for her husband and 
the dear little motherless children as well as the 
parents and other friends in the homeland. May 
the loving Heavenly Father be very near to 
sustain them when this news reaches them. 



182 BUILDING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

" We mourn, too, for ourselves and the work 
here. We have lost a kind and unselfish colleague 
and the women s work a true friend and helper. 
Who is to take her place? If you could have 
seen the sympathy and sorrow shown yesterday ; 
if you could have watched the devotion of Mrs. 
Phillips s eldest girl during her illness and all 
through this sad time ; if you could have heard 
the prayers offered by the women this evening, 
when we met in our weekly prayer-meeting 
prayers for the friends at home, for us who are 
left, and for themselves in their own sad loss 
you would have felt as I did that our work has 
not been in vain, and that the Congo women 
are priceless jewels to be won for the Saviour s 
crown. You know that I am hoping to go further 
afield, and work among the women of Zombo. 
I would earnestly beg the Committee to send 
some one to help Mrs. Graham in this work. 
We are so short-handed here ; we want more 
workers, both men and women, to do for these 
people what they cannot do for themselves. They 
are willing to work, but they need teaching and 
guiding, and we must have more workers among 
the women. These Congo women, with a large 
amount of personal freedom and strong will, must 
become a power for good if only they are led 
aright. The fields are white unto harvest, the 
time is short, and the workers swiftly pass away. 
May the Lord thrust forth more labourers into 
His harvest." 

On June 7th Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, accompanied 
by Mr. John Pinnock, started again for Kibokolo, 
the journey occupying nearly a fortnight. They 



1899] AT SAN SALVADOR 183 

succeeded in securing a plot of ground, and before 
they left, six days later, the Comber Memorial 
station was commenced. Mr. Pinnock remained 
to proceed with the necessary building, while Mr. 
and Mrs. Lewis returned to San Salvador for 
the short closing period of their work in that 
town. They arrived back on July 5th ; the chapel 
building work was duly completed, and on 
Saturday, September 16th, and following days, the 
opening ceremonies took place. Mrs. Lewis s 
report of the celebrations will constitute the 
next chapter. 



CHAPTER X 

THE OPENING OF THE NEW CHAPEL AT SAN 
SALVADOR. SEPTEMBER, 1899 

r 1 1HE following account of the opening of the 
-L new chapel at San Salvador, and the detailed 
reports of two public meetings, were written by 
Mrs. Lewis. The reader will, of course, remember 
that the speeches reported were delivered in the 
Congo language, and that Mrs. Lewis translates 
as well as reports. I have thought it worth while 
to print these documents, believing that they will 
convey more vivid and convincing impressions of 
missionary success than many pages of abstract 
exposition. 

" We have just finished the opening services of 
the new chapel at San Salvador, and a splendid 
time we had ; one which we hope will have good 
results in days and years to come. More than 
two hundred people from the surrounding towns 
gave notice that they intended to be present. So 
we formed a hospitality committee consisting of 
the deacons, with Mr. Phillips and myself ; and on 
the Wednesday after the service, we took the 
names of those willing to entertain strangers, 
while native mats were put down in the old chapel 

184 



OPENING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 185 

for any men who failed to find accommodation 
elsewhere. Of such there were very few. Indeed, 
the difficulty was to provide visitors for all who 
wished to receive them. Hospitality was offered 
for four days without any expense to the Mission. 
A great many brought chop themselves, and 
whatever else was required was freely given by 
the people here, with a little help from the 
missionaries themselves, in the form of beef. 

" All Saturday we were as busy as we possibly 
could be ; Mr. Phillips and I receiving our visitors 
and sending them to their respective hosts ; Mr. 
Lewis with Messrs. Beedham and Pinnock putting 
the finishing touches to the new chapel. At four 
o clock all was ready, and a crowd waiting outside 
which rushed in as soon as the doors were opened. 
We, that is Mr. P. and his choir, consisting of the 
boys and girls on the station and us three ladies, 
took our seats and sang for nearly half an hour 
before each service commenced, which had a little 
effect in quieting the noise. Mr. Phillips presided 
at this first meeting. Prayer was led by two 
natives, one man and one woman, an address was 
given by Mr. Phillips, and a welcome proffered to 
the missionaries new and returned Nekaka 
welcoming them on behalf of the men, and 
Mbwanzi on behalf of the women. It was really 
wonderful how well they did it, shaking hands 
with the missionaries afterward. Mr. and Mrs. 
Graham responded, as the others could not speak 
Kongo. The chapel looked beautiful, and every 
one was delighted. Mrs. Beedham had prepared 
three texts, which were hung severally behind the 
pulpit and on each side of the chapel : Enter into 



186 OPENING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

His gates with thanksgiving ; The Lord has been 
mindful of us ; He will bless us. 

" On Sunday morning there were some six or 
seven hundred present at nine o clock, when Mr. 
Pinnock conducted a children s service, and gave a 
capital address from Knock. At eleven o clock 
Mr. Lewis conducted the usual meeting, when the 
place was crowded, about eight hundred being pre 
sent. He preached from the text My house shall 
be called a house of prayer for all nations. At 
half -past two p.m., there was a gathering of 
between four and five hundred women. We had 
such a good meeting Mrs. Graham prayed, Mrs, 
Beedham gave out the hymns, and I gave an 
address from He appeared first unto Mary 
Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils. 
The attention and behaviour were really wonder 
ful, seeing that many had never been to service in 
a building before. It was a gathering such as is 
rarely seen in Africa, and far exceeded our expec 
tations. In the evening at five o clock Mr. Graham 
preached to an audience of men only, some three 
hundred being present, on the whole armour of 
God. When in the evening we nine missionaries 
met together for our little English service, our 
hearts were indeed full of joy and thankfulness. 

" On Monday morning all was again excitement, 
for this was the great meeting, and long before we 
were ready a big crowd was waiting outside, and 
Messrs. Pinnock and Beedham had as much as 
they could do to prevent the people from tumbling 
over one another. The speakers and choir were 
already seated, and Mr. Bowskill with four 
cameras was taking pictures all the time. Mr. 



AT SAN SALVADOR 187 

Lewis was in the chair, and we had a most inter 
esting meeting, of which I enclose a report. It was 
really marvellous at all the meetings to see how 
well the natives, both men and women, acquitted 
themselves. Some of their speeches would not have 
disgraced Exeter Hall ; they were so much to the 
point and so well put. Nlekai s was the best in 
this meeting, but all were good. We had a time 
limit of ten minutes for natives, and five for 
missionaries, and the gong kept them up to it. 
The meeting lasted for two hours and a half and 
was thoroughly enjoyed by all. 

" In the afternoon there were many people to see 
the children, who played games in the station, 
Mrs. Graham helping them to enjoy themselves, 
and after tea we all went over again to the chapel 
for the service of song, based on the Pilgrim s 
Progress, which Mr. Phillips had taken much 
trouble to prepare. We were rather afraid that 
some accident might happen, as so many strangers 
came. The place was crammed to its utmost 
capacity. Fully one thousand must have been 
present. But Mr. Lewis told them at the begin 
ning, it was a service, not a play, and asked for 
good behaviour, and got it. The King was present, 
and when his photo was put on the sheet we 
allowed the audience to clap. But during the 
service the attention was as good and reverent as 
we could wish. All went off well, Mr. Lewis read 
ing and Mr. Graham showing the pictures, while 
Mr. Phillips and Mr. Pinnock accompanied, Mr. 
Phillips leading. It reminded me of old days when 
we sang the same service with Mr. Charlier at 
Camden. 



188 OPENING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

"The next morning (Tuesday) some of the 
strangers left to return to their towns, so that 
the attendance at the missionary meeting was 
not quite so large. But there were about six 
hundred present, and a most delightful meeting 
we had. The speeches were all good, and that 
of Lau was universally acknowledged to be 
the best in all the meetings. It was really 
wonderful to hear this woman, who can neither 
read nor write, stand up and speak as if her 
address had all been prepared, with not one word 
too much. Vita and Elembe, our old boys, now 
teachers in other towns, spoke also very well, 
and then Mr. Phillips gave an address, bidding 
us goodbye, after which we all three replied, 
and the meeting closed with singing God be 
with you till we meet again. 

"In the afternoon the whole Church gathered 
together to commemorate our Lord s death, when 
three new members were received, two from here 
and one, Luvumbu, a Zombo native who was con 
verted while working with Mr. Pinnock at Tumba 
the first-fruits of Zombo for Christ. Mr. Graham 
presided. The following afternoon Mr. Pinnock 
baptized these three. 

" And so ended a memorable time in the history 
of the San Salvador Church a time to which we 
shall look back joyfully, with thankfulness that 
thus God has permitted us to see the result of 
our labours, with prayer that He may richly 
bless the native Church meeting in this new and 
beautiful house, and that in many an instance 
The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the 
people, that this man was born there. 




SAX SALVADOR. OLD SCHOOI.-CHAPKI.. 




SAX SALVADOR. XK\V CHAI KI. 



AT SAN SALVADOR 189 

"MEETING HELD ON MONDAY MORNING. 

"The Chairman, the Rev. T. Lewis, said how 
great a pleasure it was to them to meet in this 
new house of God. When they began to build, 
many people thought they would not be able 
to finish, but by the blessing of God they were 
meeting there to-day. He wanted to thank all 
who had helped in this work, the bricklayers and 
the carpenters, those who had carried stones, and 
the labourers and children who had carried water. 
Some had worked very, very slowly, and they 
knew that sometimes he had had palavers with 
them about their slowness and carelessness. Now 
he hoped all these things would be forgotten. 
The work was finished, and to-day they were 
meeting to rejoice together. 

" They remembered three who had begun the 
work with them, whom God had called in the 
middle of it Makaya, Mponda, and William. But 
they had hope in their deaths that they believed 
on Jesus Christ, and trusted they were now with 
Him. He would say to the workmen just one 
thing. Let them take care lest any of those 
who had helped to build this house failed to 
enter into the house God had built above. The 
workmen who built the ark perished because of 
their unbelief. Let them make sure that they 
had entered into the kingdom now, by faith in 
Christ, lest they should be left outside the Holy 
City at last. 

"He then introduced Mantu Parkinson, who 
was the first native baptized. Mantu recalled 
the time when the old King of Kongo received 



190 OPENING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

a letter from Mr. Comber, saying that he and 
his companions were down at Mosuca. He was 
a very little boy then, but he remembered the 
excitement of the day when Mr. Comber arrived 
with his wife and Messrs. Bentley, Hartland, and 
Crudgington ; how the people wondered what they 
had come for, whether for rubber or slaves. 
Then soon after they heard that Mrs. Comber 
was sick, and the big people went to see her 
day by day, till one day they saw all the white 
men crying, and heard that she was dead. There 
was a great cry in the town, and he was among 
those who followed her to the grave. And though 
he could not understand what they said, he and 
others began to wonder what it might all mean. 
He spoke of several incidents which occurred 
in Congo, and then of his visit to England, 
and of many things he saw there. Especially he 
recalled a remark made to him by the Rev. Francis 
Tucker, of Camden Road, that God had remem 
bered Congoland and sent them His Word. When 
he returned with Mr. Comber he often thought of 
those words, and he was reminded of them again 
this morning, when he saw the text on the wall, 
The Lord hath been mindful of us. Those words 
and the teaching he afterwards received brought 
him to Christ, and he was baptized. 

" Nlekai, teacher in charge of an outstation, was 
one of the first five who formed the Church, 
December 2, 1887. He said he was a native of 
Bangu, Arthington Falls. He was a very little 
boy and couldn t understand much when Mr. 
Comber first came to Congo. But he remembered 
one day when there was a great noise in his town 



AT SAN SALVADOR 191 

and Messrs. Comber and Hartland arrived, and all 
the people gathered together to hear them preach. 
Some of the other boys went back with them, but 
he was left. A short time afterwards Mr. Dixon 
visited his town, and after he had preached, asked 
the chief for some boys to go back with him. 
Then Nlekai was sent with others. Soon after 
wards Mr. Dixon left San Salvador, and he became 
Mr. Weeks s boy. With him he went to England. 
While there he went about and saw many people, 
and went every Sunday to a big house where they 
taught the people (the Metropolitan Tabernacle). 
And the people were constantly asking Mr. Weeks 
Is your boy a Christian ? And Mr. Weeks used 
to answer, I do not know, perhaps he is ! And 
he asked himself what they could mean. Of 
course I am a Christian. I have not done any 
bad palavers, I have always washed the dishes 
properly. He thought very much about this till 
he came back to Congo, when from the words 
spoken by the teachers there he began to see that 
a Christian means some one who believes in Christ. 
Then Mr. Lewis came, and soon after he was 
baptized, and Mr. Lewis taught them they must 
join together to work, and they began to go into 
the other towns and tell the people there about 
the gospel. He finished by an appeal to all to 
come to Christ, and then to help in the work. 

" The Rev. R. H. C. Graham next spoke. He said 
that when in England many people tried to dis 
suade him from returning to Congo. They said 
the Congos were too lazy to learn to work, and 
even if they professed to believe in Christ it was 
only with their mouths. Even many Christian 



192 OPENING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

people said, You had better stay at home and 
teach the people here. But when they heard 
about this house which they were building and 
saw the photos of it which had been sent home ; 
when they heard that it was being built by native 
workmen, they said, Truly your work is not in 
vain. He then referred to having seen Mr. Dixon, 
and said how pleased he and Mr. Crudgington 
would have been had they been present to-day. 

"Wavatidi was the next speaker. She, and 
another, now dead, were the first women 
baptized in 1888. She said she remembered the 
day that Mantu was baptized. She, with some 
other women, went down to the water to wash 
and saw Mr. Comber baptize Mantu. They thought 
to themselves, What is this palaver ? What can 
be the use of it ? Then she heard many palavers, 
and soon after that Mrs. Lewis came, and then she 
began to be taught properly, and learnt to love 
Christ. When she and Mpuna went to the King, 
their husband, to ask permission to be baptized, he 
was very angry and threatened to shoot them. 
But Padre Barosa interfered, telling the King that 
baptism was a very good palaver, and he must let 
his wives be baptized if they wished. She then 
spoke of how she first went to school and tried to 
learn to read, and how Mpuna, who had been 
baptized with her, had been called home. 

"Mata, who has been chief capita since the 
beginning of the Mission, spoke of those who first 
came to Congo and of the journeys that he took 
with them, especially of the time when he went 
to Stanley Pool with Messrs. Bentley and Crud 
gington, telling some wonderful crocodile tales, 






AT SAN SALVADOR 193 

and also some Congo parables quite incompre 
hensible to any European. 

" The Rev. H. Ross Phillips said his part was to 
look after the money, so that his speech would be 
about that. First he read out a list of special con 
tributions from the natives amounting in all to 
the value of 578 francs. He then mentioned that 
the missionaries at present on the staff had pre 
sented the pulpit and baptistery, with a brass 
plate in memory of those who had been on the 
San Salvador staff, but were now dead, and 
spoke briefly of Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Comber, Mr. 
Hartland, Mr. Silvey, Mr. Cowe, Mr. Wilkinson, 
and his own wife. He also said that Mr. and 
Mrs. Lawson Forfeitt had promised chairs for the 
platform, and that he and his children would give 
a communion table and desk in memory of Mrs. 
Phillips. He spoke of how the work had grown 
since he came first to San Salvador, pointing out 
the next speaker as an example to the men, he 
having learnt to read when grown up, and being 
now able to preach to others. 

" Ndonzwau, a deacon from an outside town, 
remembered the time when he was in darkness. 
Nlekai talked to him and taught him to read ; and 
now that the white man had brought the gospel 
to them it was their duty to take it to others. 

" At the missionary and farewell meeting held 
on Tuesday morning, Mr. Phillips presided, and 
after prayer and singing called on Elembe, who 
had a bad foot and occupied a chair on^the plat 
form. Elembe, who is teacher at Kimpese, said 
he was sorry he could not say much as he was 
not well enough to stand up. They all saw great 

Englishwoman in Africa 14 



194 OPENING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

joy in meeting in that new house, but they must 
remember it was not built for them just to sit 
down and enjoy themselves. They must re 
member it was their duty to go about and teach 
the people in other towns. There were many 
towns begging for teachers. But very many people 
did not like to leave San Salvador. They wanted 
to sit down in their houses and be comfortable 
there. To-day they saw how their teachers who 
were in the pulpit had finished building this 
beautiful house, how they had a nice station here ; 
but they were going to leave all these good things 
for the sake of preaching the gospel to the people 
in Zombo. This was an example for them. 

"Lau, the senior woman deacon, said she re 
membered so many things that if she were to 
speak of them all they would never get out of that 
place. She remembered the time when the first 
white men * came to San Salvador and went to see 
the King, who was ill with smallpox, and gave him 
medicine which by the blessing of God was a help 
to him. Those white men said they had come 
after some stray goats, but truly those who 
followed had come to seek the sheep who had 
gone astray. She remembered the coming of the 
first missionaries and of their present teachers. 
She remembered the baptism of the first two 
women, and how, very soon after that, she and 
two others professed their faith in the same way, 
and ever since Mr. and Mrs. Lewis had taught 
them well, both men and women. She wanted to 
thank Mr. Lewis for building that chapel. They 
looked at its strong walls, thick roof, but they 
1 See Appendix, Note E. 



AT SAN SALVADOR 195 

knew they could never have built it had it not 
been for Mr. Lewis and the help of God. Let 
them remember all that their teachers had left 
for their sakes, their good country, their friends 
and families. Nengwa (Mrs. Graham), who had 
just arrived, had left a little crawling baby. Why 
was that? For their sakes and the gospel s. And 
now those in the pulpit were going farther on 
to preach to people who were still in darkness. 
They saw much sorrow at their leaving, but 
should not forget them, always remembering 
them in prayer, and when they met together in 
that beautiful house. 

" Mr. Phillips here said Lau had reminded them 
of something they had omitted, viz., to thank Mr. 
Lewis for all the trouble he had taken in the 
building of that chapel. Many a time after the 
workmen had left Mr. Lewis had been busy all 
the evening till late planning and arranging, and 
if he had not been here, it could not have been 
built. He therefore proposed they should thank 
Mr. Lewis heartily for all his trouble. This was 
vigorously acceded to by clapping of hands. 

" Vita, teacher at Mwingu, spoke next. He said 
he was a native of Bangu, and when Mr. Dixon 
went there to ask for schoolboys many of the 
people thought he wanted them to sell, but he, 
Vita, thought, If I go with the white man I shall 
learn to get rich like him. Since then he had 
learnt that the missionaries came not to get money 
but to teach them about God, and they left their 
friends and all their good things behind, for their 
sakes. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis had brought him up, 
and he was very sorry to lose them, but he knew 



196 OPENING OF THE NEW CHAPEL 

it was to preach the gospel in Zombo they were 
going. They were leaving their nice house on the 
station. So they must all try to do the same, and 
be willing to go anywhere to lighten the dark 
ness all around. 

" The Chairman, the Rev. H. R. Phillips, spoke of 
the long time he and Mr. Graham and Mr. Lewis and 
their wives had worked together happily, so that 
there was joy and sorrow in his heart that day 
sorrow because they were now to part, gladness 
because the people in Zombo were going to hear 
the good news of salvation. He remembered how 
his wife on her death-bed spoke of the Zombo 
work, and prayed God to bless it. They all knew 
Mr. Pinnock s work at Underhill and Tumba, and 
they hoped that God would greatly bless the work 
in Zombo, until there, too, there might be a chapel 
like this, and numbers of those who loved and 
followed Christ. He concluded by wishing them 
goodbye and Godspeed. 

" The Rev. T. Lewis said he was there just to say 
goodbye. They all knew he was not going away 
because he wished to leave them or the work there, 
or because he wanted to part from his colleagues, 
but only so that he and his wife might go to 
Zombo and take the gospel to the people there. 
He thanked those present for their kindness to 
him while he had been with them, and would now 
simply say, Sala Kiambote (Congo, goodbye, 
lit. remain good). 

"Mrs. Lewis said she remembered being at the 
farewell meeting of those who first came to Congo. 
Mr. Pinnock was present also. She went out to 
Africaand worked for a short time with Mr. Comber s 



AT SAN SALVADOR 197 

sister. She remembered the first day she arrived 
in San Salvador and the welcome the women gave 
her, and ever since then they had loved each other. 
Two especially she thought of that day whom God 
had called : one Mansonso, who started the work 
at Nkaba, although she could not read and did not 
know much ; the other [Mrs. Phillips], her fellow- 
worker among the women who had so recently 
passed away. Some there were her children in 
the faith, and she had tried to teach them all the 
gospel, and to show them good fashions for Chris 
tian women. Now they were to part, and she had 
much sorrow because of that. Yet she was glad 
to go to Zombo, because they in Congo had other 
teachers now just arrived, but the women in 
Zombo had none. They should not forget one 
another, but should pray for one another very 
often, and then if they loved and followed Jesus 
here, they would meet one day before the face 
of God. 

" The Rev. J. Pinnock began by saying he couldn t 
speak, but would try. Many of the men there had 
given him plenty of trouble down at Underbill, 
grumbling about their loads. He would ask them 
not to trouble the missionaries who were there 
now, but to try and do their work cheerfully. He 
was very glad to go to Zombo, so wished them 
goodbye and God s blessing on the work at San 
Salvador. 



CHAPTER XI 

PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : PERILS AND PROVIDENCES. 

1898-1899 

"TTITHERTO the events recorded in this book 
J I- have been arranged, more or less strictly, 
in chronological order. At this point I consult my 
own convenience and that of the reader by slight 
departure from the order of time, and group 
together in one chapter the facts concerning the 
initiation of the work in Kibokolo, Zombo. The 
story is one of the romances of the Baptist Mis 
sion, and an illustration of the manner in which 
Providence ordains that events, seemingly adverse, 
shall subserve the progress of the good cause. 
Upon their first visit to Kibokolo Mr. and Mrs. 
Lewis endured indescribable insult, were riotously 
mobbed, threatened with death, and probably only 
saved from it by calm fearlessness, which inspired 
their persecutors with a secret awe. On their 
return journey, Mr. Lewis was enabled to render 
signal friendly service to certain fellow-townsmen 
of the people who had driven him and his wife 
away, and foresaw that good might come of it. 
A few months later a deputation arrived in San 
Salvador and begged him to come and settle as a 

198 



PIONEERING IN ZOMBO 199 

friend among the people who had been thirsty for 
his blood. With her own pen Mrs. Lewis wrote 
a journal, extending to sixty pages, of the first 
pioneering journey, made in June, 1898. Unfor 
tunately that is lost. But happily a vivid account 
written by Mr. Lewis is available, and I give the 
story as he wrote it and as it appeared in the 
pages of the Missionary Herald. 

" Many of the friends at home have been already 
interested in the proposal to establish a Comber 
Memorial Station in the Zombo country, in memory 
of that devoted family who have laid down their 
lives in the service of Christ in Africa. The won 
derful story of the labours of the brethren and 
sisters who bore that noble name, with their 
whole-hearted devotion to the Congo Mission, is 
to us who are now on the field much more than 
a memory it is an inspiration to go forward in 
the same work, and fills us with hope for the 
future, knowing that their labours and ours 
cannot be in vain in the Lord. How Thomas 
Comber and the rest of them would rejoice with 
us to-day were they permitted to gather in the 
ripened fruit of their early toil in this land ; and 
how they would hail with delight the prospect 
of carrying forward the banner of the Cross right 
into the long-neglected country of the Zombos. 
We have already gathered in some of Christ s 
lambs at Makuta, where Thomas Comber was 
shot at and wounded on that memorable journey 
when he and John Hartland had to abandon their 
project of making that their route to the Upper 
Congo. Now the country is open for us to pene 
trate much further into that dark region, and we 



200 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : 

can see God s finger clearly directing us to go for 
ward and possess the land in the name of the 
Saviour of the whole world. To us it seems 
peculiarly fitting that we honour the memory 
of the beloved name of the Combers by occu 
pying that dark and hitherto wholly neglected 
district. 

"At the request of the Committee, Mrs. Lewis 
and myself made a journey into the Zombo 
country in the months of June and July, with 
a view of ascertaining the suitability or other 
wise of the place for a mission station. We were 
well received in most parts, but in some places 
we were regarded with much suspicion, and the 
people were very much afraid of Europeans. 
Until recently no white man had settled among 
the Zombos within the Portuguese territory, and 
now there are only two Portuguese one a trader 
and the other a Government official. Even these 
have settled close on the borders, and they are 
the only representatives of civilisation at present. 
There are no missionaries anywhere near Zombo, 
and the work naturally falls upon our Society. 
Besides, the Zombo language being to all practical 
purposes the same as that spoken at San Salvador, 
we consider it doubly incumbent upon us as a 
Mission to establish ourselves among these people 
without any further delay. 

" I, therefore, confidently appeal to the many 
friends at home for their prayerful sympathy 
and practical support in this new forward move 
ment. Let me say at once that we need 1,000 
to build temporary and permanent stations, and 
that we expect to receive this sum in special 



PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 201 

gifts to be devoted to the erection of the Comber 
Memorial Station. We are anxious to complete 
this work without in any way being a burden 
to the general fund of the Society. Many friends 
have already intimated their intention of con 
tributing to this special fund ; and we feel sure 
that there are many more in all parts of the 
country who will co-operate in this matter, and 
enable us to raise up a living and lasting memorial 
to those who lived, laboured, and died for the 
evangelisation of Africa. 

"Zombo is a name given to an extensive tract 
of country lying to the east of San Salvador 
and about a hundred miles distant. The name is 
often applied to a wider area than that occupied 
by that branch of the Congo family known as 
Zombos. Zombo proper has an area of over 
three thousand square miles and is very thickly 
populated. From native reports we were prepared 
to see large townships, but we were astonished 
to find so many people everywhere. Nowhere 
on the Lower Congo is there anything that can 
bear comparison with Zombo for population, and 
without any reservation we can say that this 
district presents a most promising field for mis 
sionary work. 

" Superstition and heathenism are rampant 
everywhere, and the moral and spiritual darkness 
is simply appalling. We witnessed sights and 
scenes which are only possible to the most de 
graded of human beings. They know nothing of 
God ; they have the name of God in their language 
and upon their lips, but what idea the name con 
veys to their mind it is difficult to say. An 



202 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO: 

example of this vagueness is seen in the fact that 
on several occasions they addressed me by that 
name, and on my remonstrating with them and 
explaining that we were only men teaching them 
of God and His love to us all, they insisted upon 
calling me Son of God. Such things are very 
revolting to one s feelings, but it shows their utter 
darkness and ignorance of spiritual things. In 
Zombo the houses and towns are full of fetishes 
and charms ; we came across many fetishes which 
even our carriers had never seen before. One 
thing interested us all, and we found it in many 
towns. It was a trap to catch the devil. It was 
cleverly arranged sometimes on the square space 
where the people meet for palavers, and sometimes 
in the houses with cord loops and cane springs, 
and they had special charms to attract their prey 
into it. The idea was very commendable, and the 
trap would be a great blessing to the world at 
large if it were successful. But they all confessed 
that the trap had not caught yet ! I enclose two 
photographs, which will serve as samples of 
carved images, placed by the roadside to guard 
the entrance into the towns. 

" In most of the towns we visited we had a good 
hearing, as the people were very curious to know 
what we had come for. We took with us as 
carriers several of our San Salvador Christians, 
who were a great help in getting the people to 
gether, as well as in speaking. Our headman, 
Mata, is well versed in native customs, and knows 
all about the tricks of witch doctors and others, 
having gone through them all in his early days. 
He is also a capital speaker, and is sharp at taking 



PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 203 

up points and meeting objections made. At one 
town, where the chief begged us to prolong our 
stay a day longer, so that he might call his friends 
from other towns to come and hear us, we had one 
of the most interesting gatherings that I have seen 
in Africa. The crowd which assembled squatted 
on the ground in the usual open space, and by the 
time we were summoned there was a large audi 
ence of several hundreds. The men arranged 
themselves on both sides, leaning on their loaded 
guns, while the women kept at a distance right in 
front of us, just near enough to hear, and the 
carriers and our boys took their position behind 
my wife and myself. We sang a hymn to begin 
with, and then I spoke to them as simply as I 
could of the message which we had come to de 
liver, and they all listened attentively. When I 
had done Mata got up and told them how the 
missionaries had come in their country years ago 
in order to tell them of God, how many at San 
Salvador and other places had been brought into 
the light of the gospel of Christ, and how they 
were doing all they could to enlighten and help 
their fellow country people. He retold the old 
story of the death of Christ and His resurrection. 
The people were intensely interested, but on hear 
ing of the resurrection some of them began with 
expressions of dissent, and this led to a lively but 
good-natured discussion on fetishism and native 
superstitions. 

"They wanted Mata to answer some questions 
bearing on witchcraft ; among other things, they 
wished to know that if it was a wicked thing 
to kill people, what were they to do with witches ? 



204 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO: 

Killing ndoki (witch) was certainly a good thing. 
Mata denied that there was such a thing as 
ndoki, and graphically told them how the witch 
doctors deceive them with lies and tricks. He 
related to them his own personal experiences in 
early life, and was often interrupted by shouts of 
laughter and approbation from the audience, and 
they all saw that the speaker was well up in his 
subject. Objectors plied him with questions, and 
he took them one by one, and exposed the utter 
rottenness of their customs. After much talk and 
banter, Mata, with his usual boldness, asked if 
there was a witch doctor present who could tell 
them all about it, whereupon a grey-bearded old 
man rose on his feet and said that he was one. 
Mata asked him to tell what ndoki was. He 
said that for many years he had followed his 
calling as a witch doctor, but he himself had never 
seen a witch, and in a bold speech he went over 
what Mata had said, and added emphatically that 
all he had told them that day was perfectly true. 
The crowd howled and hooted at the old man, and 
some became rather angry at this admission of 
their witch doctor, but the majority of them sided 
with Mata, and declared that God s palaver was 
good. I interfered at this point, and order being 
restored, I tried to impress upon their mind that 
each man must think for himself in this matter. 
We had told them the message, and showed them 
how they may obtain salvation and go to heaven, 
and that we could do no more than this, but that 
each man in his heart must decide for himself. 
Thus our long afternoon meeting came to a close, 
and the people returned to their homes. We hope 



PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 205 

and pray that they will retain the thing which 
they heard that day for the first time in their 
minds, and realise the truth and blessedness of 
the gospel message. 

"At this and many other towns the women 
were particularly friendly, and my wife had them 
together separately for teaching. A white man 
in Zombo was a wonder to behold, but a white 
lady much more so, and the women were not so 
frightened at my wife as at myself. Her presence 
on this journey was on this account a great help 
in getting at the women. The first announcement 
that white men were coming into a town was 
a signal for a general stampede of the women 
and children ; but my wife generally being the 
first to arrive in her hammock, the carriers would 
call after them and assure them that this person 
was a woman like themselves, then they returned 
to her to shake hands. After a while it would 
gradually dawn upon them that we spoke their 
language, and friendship was at once established, 
and very inconveniently they would crowd around 
us from morning till night. 

" This fresh advance into the regions beyond 
calls for renewed energy and consecration on our 
part, and for more sympathy and help from 
Christians at home. I feel convinced that these 
new responsibilities will move the Churches at 
home to a greater liberality than ever before, and 
deepen their interests in the work abroad, and fill 
them with a fuller measure of prayer and self- 
sacrifice. They call upon us all to a purer, whole 
hearted devotion to our Master, and compel us in 
all humbleness of spirit to supplicate the Throne 



206 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : 

of Grace, whence alone we can obtain strength 
and guidance needed for the work. There is much 
land still to be possessed in the name of the Lord. 
Ask of Me, and I shall give thee the heathen for 
Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the 
earth for Thy possession. " 

The foregoing article was written for publica 
tion. It was accompanied by another, written for 
the information of the Committee, to be published 
or not, at their discretion. This also was printed 
under the title, " Further Incidents," and I give it 
here. 

" We first of all made our way to the Makela 
towns, where there is a Portuguese Resident and 
a trader. There are two or three firms who are 
arranging for sites, and are about to send their 
representatives there, so they evidently look upon 
it as a promising field for trade. As our business 
was to make friends with the natives, we declined 
the offers of hospitality kindly tendered to us by 
the Resident and trader, and stayed in native huts 
as guests of the people. We were well received at 
all these towns, and the native chiefs were very 
pressing in their representations, asking us to 
build in their towns. Both at Mbongi (where 
the Resident lives) and at Mbanza Makela (the 
principal town of the group) they begged of me 
to choose a plot of ground and build immediately. 
These Makela people came to San Salvador some 
times, and know me well by name and repute, and 
they wanted me to make a promise that I would 
come to stay in their town. I explained that I 
wanted to see all the country first, and that 
I could make no promise just then. Still, we were 



PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 207 

very glad to receive such a hearty welcome, and 
we stayed there several days, including Sunday. 

"The chief of Makela supplied me with a guide 
to take us to the next district Mbuzu with its 
thirty-six towns and a population of about five 
thousand. All along the route we passed many 
towns, including Ngombe, with its population of 
about three thousand. Both on the right and left 
there were large towns which I could not visit or 
form any idea of the number of people in them. 
We were now among people unaccustomed to 
white men, very superstitious, frightened, and 
suspicious. We were well received at Mbuzu, and 
they begged us to stay a day longer, which we did, 
and they came in good force to hear our message. 
We were making our way to the Nkisi River, 
which runs in a north-west direction to the Congo 
River, into which it empties itself between Wathen 
and the Pool. We had been told that there was a 
very large population on the banks of this river, 
but on reaching Kibulungu we found that the 
towns were not large nor numerous. The valley is 
exceedingly swampy, and in the wet season the 
river overflows its banks, and crossing in canoes is 
a dangerous business. Native ferries are the only 
means of crossing, and alligators are plentiful. 
Altogether, the river district is not tempting, 
either as a place of abode or a field of labour. 
The towns are difficult to reach on account of the 
river and swamps. We had intended to cross the 
Nkissi into the Kidia district, but from the hills on 
this side we could see that the towns opposite were 
less numerous than on this, and therefore we 
decided to turn back and waste no time on an 



208 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : 

unlikely district. Besides, the River Nkisi would 
be a great obstacle in the transport of goods to the 
Kidia side. We therefore gave up all idea of 
crossing, and after three days stay we made our 
way back to Zombo proper. 

" Two days journey brought us to Kinzau, 
another populous district, where we stayed 
three days. Three hours march further south is 
Kibokolo, which may be considered the heart of 
Zombo. This district is very thickly populated, 
and here is one of the most important markets in 
the country. The principal town shown in the 
map is the largest I have seen in Congo. I 
estimate that there are about five thousand people 
in it (San Salvador has about fifteen hundred not 
more than two thousand). Within a one-hour 
radius there are at least a score of towns of some 
considerable size. I was not able to visit these 
towns, and cannot therefore form any estimate of 
the number of people within easy reach. This 
is by far the best centre for mission work. 
Heathenism is rampant, and never before have 
I seen such a display of fetishes and superstitious 
rites. Our appearance in the district caused much 
confusion, and the people were afraid lest we 
should bewitch them and cause them all to die 
right off. There were cries of, The country is 
dead, the country is dead ; and I have no doubt 
but that they firmly believed it. However, in 
about an hour s time we succeeded in finding the 
chief, and he gave us a native house to sleep in, 
and then some of the people came round us to 
shake hands. That evening the chief and some of 
his followers came together, and I talked to them 



PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 209 

about the gospel and explained our message. 
They could not understand anybody being so dis 
interested as to take all this trouble for their sake. 
Next day, being market day, the chiefs of the sur 
rounding towns came and discussed with the Kibo- 
kolo folks our presence in their country. There 
was a strong party in favour of fighting and 
killing us, carriers and all ; but others would not 
agree to this, as they heard we had stayed at 
many towns on the way but knew of nothing bad 
done by the white man or his carriers. At last 
they agreed to drive us away from their towns, 
but no bodily harm was to be inflicted upon us. 
We found this out afterwards ; at the time we 
knew nothing about the agitation against us. 

" Early in the afternoon the townfolk many of 
whom were intoxicated with palm wine and did 
not know exactly what they were doing raised a 
cry that the white man s boys were poisoning the 
water (they were washing some clothes in the 
stream which runs through the centre of the town, 
and the soap was considered poison), and that a 
carrier was seen hiding a charm in the ground 
outside the town ; and again that one of the 
carriers was ill with smallpox ; all of which were 
absolutely false, but the leaders invented them to 
create an uproar and force us away. In an extra 
ordinarily short space of time the greater part of 
the town were around us, some with loaded guns 
and others with cutlasses, spears, bows and arrows, 
and sticks, while the witch doctors and women 
brought out their fetishes and commenced dancing 
and gesticulating in the wildest manner. This 
was heathenism in its worst aspects, and the 

Englishwoman in Africa 15 



210 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : 

scene was indescribable. The excitement was 
growing in intensity, and their attitude became 
more threatening, and they were demanding our 
immediate departure. I got all the carriers and 
boys together, and induced them to keep perfectly 
quiet. The owner of the house which we occupied 
was very friendly, and he with three or four others 
tried to keep back the crowd. We told them over 
and over that we would not go away that day, do 
what they would. The chief sent us the usual 
complimentary present of two fowls and a cala 
bash of native beer said to be non-intoxicating 
for the carriers. This was to dismiss us from the 
town on friendly terms, and he considered his 
responsibility at an end. The beer, as we sus 
pected, had been previously cursed by the witch 
doctor, and it was supposed to have the power of 
killing us all at once if we partook of it. I 
accepted the present, and the carriers finished the 
drink in the presence of all, and they were greatly 
astonished to find that they did not fall down dead 
on the spot. I told the headman, who brought the 
present, that we did not mean to go away that 
day, but that in the morning we would pay our 
respects to the chief before leaving their town. 
The excitement among the people, however, did 
not cool down, for they kept on at a furious rate 
to the middle of the night. We retired to bed 
early, and in spite of the beating of drums and 
the blowing of horns, we managed to get some 
sleep. Next morning we packed up our things, 
and the same noise and excitement continued. 
They were evidently surprised at our showing no 
fight. A crowd followed us about a mile or two out- 



PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 211 

side the town, with their horns and drums ; but for 
some reason or other they changed their cursing 
into blessing, and were calling upon the spirits 
to protect the white man and his people if they 
have done no harm in the town. So we left 
Kibokolo, but we had carried out our plans in full, 
except that we had hoped to stay in this town a 
few days longer. We thought that, on the whole, 
it was the wiser policy to retire for the time being, 
and let the people have time to find out that our 
presence did them no real harm. Still, at Kibo 
kolo there are two or three who gave up their 
houses for ourselves and carriers, and who stood 
by us all through the uproar. 

"On our return journey a most unusual thing 
occurred, which I have great hopes will cause 
them to change their attitude towards us. When 
nearing San Salvador we found that the whole 
country was much disturbed on account of a 
mistaken policy of the Portuguese Residents, and 
the people of Lembelwa and Tanda districts had 
closed the road to the coast against all carriers. 
We met some five hundred Zombos returning to 
their country with their rubber, having failed to 
pass. A large number were from the Kibokolo 
district. They were much afraid of us, lest we 
should retaliate on them for the treatment we had 
received in their country ; but I succeeded in get 
ting them together and persuaded them to come 
along with me, promising to pass them to the 
coast without molestation. It took some time to 
convince them of my good intentions, but ulti 
mately they agreed to trust themselves to me. 
On the next day we came to the disturbed district, 



212 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : 

and I took my position in front of the whole 
company. At the entrance into each town we 
were met by armed men, who were stopping 
passers-by. I was well known to them all, and 
they made no resistance when I asked them to 
stand on one side, and waited myself until the 
Zombos had passed. That night all of us slept 
in one of the disturbed towns, and I gathered the 
chiefs together and talked to them very strongly 
of the wickedness and foolishness of their be 
haviour, the headmen of the Zombos listening 
to all. 

"The outcome of our palaver was that they 
promised to reopen the road and allow carriers 
to pass unmolested. The effect of this upon the 
Zombos was very remarkable, for they had looked 
upon the white man as their enemy, and now they 
saw that we were their best friends after all. 
When they return from the coast they will inform 
their people what happened, and we hope for a 
very different reception at Kibokolo next time 
we go. The native Christians who accompanied 
us as carriers were delighted at the turn of affairs, 
and Mata, the headman of the caravan, said to 
me that night, Oh, master, I have seen a won 
derful work of God to-day ; the Kibokolo people 
drove you away, but when these carriers return 
home your name will be lifted up to the sky all 
through Zombo. Truly God has wrought this 
marvellous work. We, too, feel in the same 
way, and that this incident will help very 
materially in the opening up of Zombo to the 
preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We 
pray that it may be so. 



PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 213 

" I have entered fully into this incident, so that 
you may be able to understand our position with 
regard to Kibokolo. It is by far the best place for 
a mission station, and it may be that very soon 
we can build there without much difficulty. We 
have, however, to face strong prejudices against 
the white man, and I feel that it is better to wait 
a little and not to unduly force our way contrary 
to the will of the people. We cannot, if we wished 
it, depend on any protection from the Portuguese 
Government. As you know, there are already a 
trader and a Portuguese official in Zombo, and 
their conduct towards the natives does not make 
it easier for us who go on a different mission ; and 
I deem it of the utmost importance that we should 
enter the country as soon as possible. The longer 
we delay the more difficult will it be to disabuse 
the minds of the people. 

" I am deeply sensible of the great responsi 
bility laid upon me in making suggestions as to 
Zombo. I have kept back this report for a month 
in order to consider the whole question very care 
fully, and now I am in a position to lay before you 
the conclusions I have arrived at as to the course 
to be taken : 

" 1. The Zombo country is beyond doubt a most 
promising field for missionary labour, and no 
matter where we settle there is a good popula 
tion ; for itinerating purposes we are within reach 
of an immense number of people. 

"2. Our duty to occupy the country is empha 
sised by the fact that no other society works there, 
or anywhere within reach. 

" 3. The language is practically the same as at 



214 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : 

San Salvador, and all the literary work done on 
the Lower River will serve for Zombo imme 
diately. 

" 4. Kibokolo is the most populous district, and 
the place where I would most desire to settle and 
make our permanent station, if it be possible. 

" 5. The transport expenses will be about 10s. 
per load from Matadi to Zombo, which is lower 
than that of any other station of the Congo 
Mission, excepting San Salvador. For the first 
year we may have to work the transport in two 
stages, via San Salvador, but there will be no 
difficulty in getting carriers to go through with 
our loads from Matadi to Zombo after a little 
while." 

The reader has been informed in an earlier 
chapter of how Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, having re 
turned from Kibokolo, continued their work in 
San Salvador, awaiting the consent of the Com 
mittee for the forward move. When that consent 
came it was supposed that the work in Zombo 
would have to be begun in Makela, until such 
time as the Kibokolo people had come to a better 
mind. But in the spring of 1899 the foreseen 
revulsion of feeling had already taken place, and 
on April 18th Mr. Lewis was able to write to 
the Committee in the following terms : 

" It seems now almost certain that we shall be 
able to settle at once at Kibokolo, instead of first 
going to Makela. We are now in negotiation with 
the Kibokolo people, who are most desirous we 
should settle with them ; and I hope by the next 
mail to send you positive information on this 
matter. The prospect just now is most encour- 



PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 215 

aging ; the work at San Salvador also is most 
cheering. Last week I baptized eleven persons, 
and there are fourteen other candidates." 

Reviewing his work in connection with the 
Congo Mission, Mr. Lewis wrote at the same 
time : 

" It is now nearly seventeen years since my 
acceptance by the Society for work at the 
Cameroons, and thirteen since my transfer to 
the Congo Mission, and during this period I have 
been stationed with my wife at San Salvador. 
We have seen the formation of a native Church, 
which has grown slowly but steadily year by year, 
and our Church roll numbers at present 142, and 
there are many more inquiring^ after the truth. 
We have experienced much blessing in the work 
here, and in many ways it will be hard to tear 
ourselves away from the people and the work. 
Yet I must confess that never before have I felt 
so eager for work in fresh fields where the gospel 
has hitherto never been heard of. 

" In spite of the fact that I have seen many 
years of service in Africa, my feeling to-day is 
much as I felt when I was first permitted to 
come to this land a feeling of a young man 
just entering upon his life s work. We look 
eagerly forward to this Zombo opportunity, and 
pray God to give us all the strength and wisdom 
needed, and to guide us in all our ways. 

"In entering upon this new and forward work 
I trust that what we may have lost of the 
enthusiasm and buoyancy of youth willlbe more 
than compensated by the experience which we 
have had of the work and of the people. May 



216 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : 

God go with us and prosper us. We are delighted 
that Mr. Pinnock is associated with us in this 
new and deeply interesting movement. The way 
is, indeed, being wonderfully opened up, and the 
Master Himself seems to be calling to us to go 
in and possess the land." 

In the foregoing paragraphs Mr. Lewis speaks 
mainly for himself. But his feelings were per 
fectly in accord with those of his wife. It was 
their singular happiness not only to share 
domestic life in confiding love, but to stand side 
by side in life s practical labours and conflicts, 
and to be of one mind, without the need of 
laborious reconciliation, in those critical junctures 
which call for new decisions. They were made 
for each other. It was restful to be with them. 

The negotiations were successful, and a little 
later Mr. Lewis writes with natural exultation, 
recalling the facts of his first visit to Kibokolo, 
and rejoicing in the fulfilment of his own 
prophecy. 

" I am now in a position to report the satis 
factory ending of the negotiations with the chiefs 
and people of the Kibokolo district, in reference 
to the establishment of our new Zombo station 
in that neighbourhood. 

" You will remember that on our visit to Zombo 
last year I was very much impressed with the 
large population of the Kibokolo towns, and the 
fine sphere presented for missionary work. 
There was no doubt in my mind but that this 
was the place which we had been looking for. 



PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 217 

Unfortunately, however, when they suspected that 
we were contemplating to build a station and 
settle in Zombo, they were very anxious to get 
rid of us, and on the second day gathered around 
us with their guns, cutlasses and sticks, demand 
ing our immediate departure. You will also 
remember that on the way back to San Salvador 
the caravan route had been closed against Zombos 
and other tribes. About five hundred Zombos 
and among them many from the Kibokolo towns 
came with me (after they had been sent back by 
the disaffected people who had closed the road), 
and I was able to pass them through without any 
molestation. When these people returned from 
the coast they related all that had occurred, and 
the Kibokolo people began to think they had 
been foolish in sending us away as they did. 
Since then it seems that the natives in the neigh 
bourhood of Kibokolo are troubled with the 
capitas from the Makela traders, who are finding 
carriers. These men, coming as they do from the 
white men, take many unauthorised liberties, and 
do much mischief in these towns. It is chiefly 
for this reason that they are anxious for me to 
come and build in their district, thinking that our 
presence there will be a protection to them. Some 
months ago the chiefs of the district called all 
the people together to discuss the situation and 
see what they could do. They all agreed that the 
best thing was to try and get Lewizi to come 
and build there, or send one of his teachers to 
them. But then the difficulty was that they had 
driven me away from their town, and they were 
afraid to send a messenger to me in case I would 



218 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : 

punish him. They then decided to send their 
messenger to the chief of Mbanza Mputu, and 
enlist his sympathy and help. He is a member 
of our San Salvador Church, and next in power 
to the King of Kongo. As a preliminary to open 
negotiations with me, they asked the chief of 
Mbanza Mputu to send a messenger to receive 
schoolboys to give me. This messenger went, 
and the boys were given him to bring to San 
Salvador. The messenger (also one of our Chris 
tians), was able to tell them that Mr. Lewis him 
self would be coming in a short time, and that 
they had better keep the boys until then, and 
that he would very likely build and settle at 
Kibokolo. There was a little jealousy between 
the different parties as to the town where the 
new white man should settle, but they are all 
satisfied to let me have my own choice of site 
and location. This intimation was received with 
great delight, and the messenger says that they 
kept on firing guns in all the towns, and there 
was general rejoicing. One of the Zombo lads 
came with the messenger, and he will return with 
us when we go. When we were returning from 
Zombo last year, and had passed the Zombos 
safely through the country, our headman said, 
Oh, master, I have seen a wonderful work of God 
to-day. The Kibokolo people drove you away, but 
when these carriers return home your name will be 
lifted up to the sky through Zombo. Truly God 
has wrought a marvellous work. This prophecy 
has already become true, and we thank God for 
it. The people at present have only their material 
good in view ; and we trust that, having won 



PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 219 

their confidence in this, we shall be able soon to 
make them realise and understand our great 
message of God s love to sinners, and then His 
Name will be lifted and praised by the thousands 
of Zombos who are now in utter darkness. 

" God has opened the way for us in a marvellous 
way, and we are now anxious to enter in by this 
open door. If all is well we hope to go and start 
the work of building at Kibokolo in three or four 
weeks from now, but owing to the shorthanded- 
ness of the San Salvador staff we may have to 
return and await the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. 
Graham, leaving Mr. Pinnock alone in Zombo for 
a month or two." 

In June, 1899, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, with Mr. 
Pinnock, left San Salvador for Kibokolo, to found 
the Comber Memorial station, as already recorded, 
and, in the following letter addressed to Mr. 
Baynes, Mrs. Lewis gives an interesting account 
of their experiences. The date is July 17th. 

" My husband is writing to tell you of our return 
from Zombo and the founding of the Comber 
Memorial station. It is a peculiar pleasure to me 
to have a share in the work, as I have such happy 
memories of work at Camden Road with Mr. 
Comber, and of my first introduction to mission 
work in company with Carrie Comber at the 
Cameroon s, beside later associations with others 
who bore that name. We thought you would 
like to know something of the journey we have 
just taken, so I am writing down a few incidents. 

" You know, I think, that Noso, the chief of 
Mbanza Mputu, accompanied us on this journey, 



220 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : 

and we found his presence most helpful. His 
name as head of the tribe is known everywhere, 
although they had not seen him since his con 
version, and great was their astonishment at his 
changed demeanour. The lion had become a 
lamb. The chief, who formerly thought nothing 
of shooting a man for a slight act of disrespect, 
was now so meek and humble that his own 
carriers took advantage of him, and thought a 
great deal more of their own comfort than of his. 
After going some distance from San Salvador we 
had some difficulty in getting people to show us 
the road ; we were consequently taken many miles 
out of our way, through some most picturesque 
scenery, but by roads more fit for monkeys than 
men. Some of the hills are very steep, and I had 
to scramble up on hands and feet, while it took 
the combined efforts of three men to drag and 
push the poor old chief. We went through one 
very large swamp which is utilised as an eel 
fishery. In some of the towns they were very 
much afraid at first. In one, on my arriving 
first, every woman and child disappeared, and the 
men took up their guns. I told my hammock men 
to say who we were, and upon their calling out, 
They are the English teachers who have come 
with Noso, every gun was put down, they crowded 
round to shake hands, and then asked me to speak 
that they might hear my voice. In many of the 
towns we were received with beating of drums, 
firing of guns, and dancing. In consequence of 
the excitement we were not able to do much 
preaching, but in all the towns we stayed at, either 
Mr. Lewis or Mata explained to the people the 



PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 221 

object of our coining among them, though it is 
hard for them to believe that we only go for their 
good. 

" When we arrived at Nkusu, the place from 
which the messengers were sent, we had a very 
warm welcome, and found the chief, who is indeed 
the head of the whole district, a very nice, quiet 
man. We stayed here from Friday till Wednes 
day. The people would have liked us to stay 
and build, but consented to send for the Kibokolo 
chiefs. 

" On Sunday morning Noso sent a man round 
the town to blow a trumpet and tell the people all 
to stay at home and come to meeting to hear the 
white man s teaching ; and soon after breakfast he 
came for us with a train of chiefs. They came 
saluting in Congo fashion, kneeling down every 
few yards, and clapping their hands. We went 
with them to a cool place and had a meeting, Mr. 
Lewis and Mata speaking, and Noso finishing 
with a few words, saying how good a thing this 
teaching was. Before we had quite finished others 
came from surrounding towns, so we began over 
again. So it went on, relays of people, and the 
old story was told again and again. After a time 
I left, but at the door of our hut I had a little 
crowd of women and boys, who gladly listened 
while I spoke to them. 

"In the afternoon we had another meeting 
there. A very interesting incident occurred. 
Mata was speaking about our teaching how it 
brought peace and good-will, how people should 
love one another, and not keep anger in their 
hearts. The chief, Ndosimao, was not in the 



222 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : 

meeting, but heard it all from his own house. 
Now it seems that he and two other chiefs who 
were there were at enmity. As Mata finished 
speaking Ndosimao appeared, walked through 
the crowd up to where we were sitting, and, 
kneeling down, said, We have been asking for 
the white man ; this teaching of his is good, so 
let us receive him and his teaching and make 
friends. He then did obeisance to the other two 
chiefs, who returned his salutation, after which 
they shook hands and were friends. This man 
seems to be prepared for the gospel. We trust 
and pray he may receive it. What made this 
incident the more remarkable was that both the 
others were his inferiors. 

" The following day the Kibokolo chiefs arrived, 
and then we found that there was a great deal 
of jealousy as to where we were to build ; in fact, 
they became so hot about it that we feared we 
should be only creating a disturbance by going 
there at all, and we decided when they left to go 
off to Makela the next morning. This they said 
they would prevent us doing, threatening to shoot 
any one who passed through. Some of the carriers 
were very much frightened, so the next morning 
we sent to Ndosimao, asking for a guide to take 
us another way. While Mata was gone, however, 
Noso arrived, saying the Kibokolo folks would 
agree to anything rather than we should build 
at Makela. So it was settled. We went first to 
Kinzalu, the chief of which town, Dom Miguel, 
was the one who caused the trouble the night 
before. He is an intelligent man, who has been 
about a great deal. He showed us much kindness, 



PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 223 

and his people were very friendly. It is a very 
nice town, and only forty minutes from Nzamba, 
where we are building the new station. We 
went there the next morning, and were received 
kindly by the chief, and our friend of last year, 
Mbala, who was very pleased to see us again. 
The people, as yet, are shy and somewhat 
suspicious. 

" Noso and Ndosimao both came with us, the 
former staying several days, when he left us to 
return by another route. On Sunday we had a 
very good meeting, when we tried to explain our 
message, and in the afternoon eight of us sat 
together at the Lord s Table for the first time in 
that dark land one a Zombo man, who had been 
working with Mr. Pinnock at Tumba, and while 
there had been brought to Christ. He was 
accepted at our last Church meeting at San 
Salvador, and sat with us for the first time at 
Kibokolo. May he be but the earnest of many 
more ! It was a hallowed time ; we spoke and 
thought of those who have gone before, and re 
membered Him Who died for us and for all those 
thousands of dark souls around. The work before 
us is overwhelming. We have now gone and 
returned by four different roads. But wherever 
we go there are towns close together and crowds 
of people in utter darkness. But God has so 
wonderfully guided us hitherto and has gone 
before us, opening the road and preparing the 
people to receive us, that we dare not lose heart 
in view of the vastness of the work, but rather 
thank Him for all His goodness in the past and 
take courage for the future." 



224 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO : 

In September the new chapel was opened at 
San Salvador, and in October Mr. and Mrs. Lewis 
started out to make their new home in Kibokolo. 
The parting from dear friends and the relinquish 
ing of dear work involved pain which no eager 
expectations of new service could quench, and in 
describing their send-off Mrs. Lewis remarks that 
it seemed like going to one s own funeral. Yet 
it was solace to her to remember that whereas 
when she began her work at San Salvador no girl 
or woman knew the alphabet, now she could leave 
many of her classes and meetings in the hands of 
young native women, who had been educated and 
brought to Christ. 

Of their departure, their reception at Kibokolo 
and their immediate prospects, Mr. Lewis writes 
in the following terms : 

"It is with devout thankfulness to God that 
I am able to report our safe arrival and our settle 
ment at our new Comber Memorial Station. My 
wife and I left the many friends at San Salvador 
on October 7th, and we reached our destina 
tion on the 15th, when we were warmly received 
by our dear friend and colleague, Mr. John 
Pinnock, who had preceded us the previous week, 
having come to San Salvador to join us in the 
festivities in connection with the opening of the 
new chapel there. It was difficult to wrench our 
selves finally from the place where we had seen 
so many happy days in the service of God, and 
it was with very mixed feelings that we said good 
bye to the Christians at San Salvador and to our 
co-workers there. Still, the joy at the prospect of 
new work in a wholly heathen country more than 




FERRY OVER NKISI RIVKR. MRS. I.EXVIS IN CANOE. 




PERILS AND PROVIDENCES 225 

overbalanced all our regrets and sorrow. It was 
a great comfort to us to feel that the work which 
we were leaving was now well provided for in the 
appointment of Mr. Bowskill and of Mr. and Mrs. 
Wooding to that station, as colleagues of Mr. and 
Mrs. Graham. The work at San Salvador has 
made great advance during the past few years, 
and we are very thankful to God for all that we 
have seen there. May the Master be very near to 
those who labour there, and abundantly bless the 
growing native Church and make it a power for 
good in Kongo-land. 

" At Kibokolo we are surrounded by a very 
large population, and we shall have our hands 
very full with work. As yet the people are a 
little afraid of us, and they find considerable 
difficulty in understanding why we have come to 
Africa at all. They understand the business of a 
Government official or of a trader ; but they 
cannot account for the purpose of a missionary 
in coming to them and not buying either rubber 
or ivory. When we tell them that we bring them 
the good news by which they may be saved, at 
first it gives a fine scope for their superstition to 
work. The general opinion among these people 
is that we come to take their souls away, and 
especially those of children, to be made into white 
men in the white man s country. They believe 
that it is our subtle way of carrying on the 
slave-trade. This is the common belief ; but 
of course many know better, especially the men 
folk, who go to sell their rubber, &c., at the 
coast. As the people become accustomed to us 
and to our ways they will see things in a different 

Englishwoman in Africa ]_Q 



226 PIONEERING IN ZOMBO 

light, and this is so with not a few of them 
already. 

" Mr. Pinnock has made good use of his two 
months residence here, for several of the leading 
men in this town are on very friendly terms with 
him, and will do anything for him. When the 
food for workmen is short, he has only to speak 
to the chief and he gets it. It is wonderful what 
influence he has, when we consider the short time 
he has been among them. Nearly all his time has 
been spent in putting up a grass-house, which is 
to serve all three of us for the present. We are 
now living in this house, which is very comfortable. 
It has two rooms measuring 18 feet by 15 feet. 
Mr. Pinnock occupies one, and my wife and J the 
other. At one end we have a lean-to, which 
serves for a dining-room. The furniture at present 
consists principally of cases of provisions and bales 
of cloth, with some tin trunks containing our per 
sonal apparel, &c., which we have brought with us 
from San Salvador. The rainy season has just 
commenced, and we are thankful to be under a 
rainproof shelter before the very heavy rains 
come. We shall live in this condition until next 
May or June, when I trust we shall be in a position 
to commence building our permanent houses. 



CHAPTER XII 

LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

MR. and Mrs. Lewis began their work in 
Kibokolo, Zombo, in October, 1899, and 
left it finally seven years later, having spent the 
year 1901, and the first half of 1902, in England 
on furlough. Those seven years were lean and 
hungry years which would have eaten up all the 
joy of former harvests if the hearts of the 
workers had not been nourished and cheered by 
unfailing faith in God. It was their business and 
that of their colleagues, in fact and in figure, 
to clear the ground, and transform a patch of 
wilderness into fields capable of bearing plenty. 
Their new neighbours were a wild, shy, suspicious 
people, and life at San Salvador with all its 
crudities seemed like civilisation when compared 
with the unmitigated barbarism of Zombo. 

The people had invited Mr. and Mrs. Lewis to 
come among them, but they had done so, moved 
by considerations which were of the earth earthy, 
and it was inevitable that they should experience 
a measure of disappointment. The missionaries 
were of course prepared for this, and entered the 
open door with a good conscience, assured that 

M7 



228 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

in the end their mission would secure for the 
people even greater earthly blessings than those 
they had forecast. 

At first their work consisted in the main of 
building houses and making friends. All the time 
they preached the gospel, knowing in their hearts 
that there was small likelihood of their doctrine 
winning acceptance, until they themselves had 
been accepted and had won trust and love. 

In the beginning, the women, and by conse 
quence the children, were afraid of Mrs. Lewis, 
and it was an event in her life, when the first 
Zombo baby stretched out its little arms in wel 
come to her, suffered her to nurse it, and was loath 
to be given up. She did not wait for the women 
to come to her, but went to them in their towns, 
exhibiting skilled and patient kindness which could 
not fail in the end. 

Meanwhile the charge, domestic and educational, 
of the children on the station, and multifarious 
household duties, kept her perpetually busy. It 
should also be mentioned that she maintained a reg 
ular correspondence with many friends at home, and 
with several of the missionaries wives upon the 
Congo, in whose work she took the deepest and 
most sisterly interest, and who were wont to con 
sult her when difficulties arose ; and quite com 
monly the difficulties were at least as frequent as 
the mails. 

Somewhat straitened for human society her 
affection went out to the tame, dumb creatures 
about her, and to one who was not dumb, the 
parrot. Her cat, "Sandy," whom the mail-man lost 
on the way to Kibokolo, was brought into San 



LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 229 

Salvador after many days, and sent on, safely this 
time, to Kibokolo, to the great joy of his indulgent 
mistress. "Edward," Mr. Pinnock s donkey, was 
useful as well as handsome, and her friendship with 
him inclined to weakness ; so much so that when 
one day he walked into the dining-room and eat 
her last loaf of bread, she merely reminded him in 
gentle tones that it was wicked to steal. After 
Edward s day came Taffy and Queenie, two mules, 
who were much esteemed, especially Queenie, who 
died too early ; and later a cow and bull, the joint 
property of Mr. Hooper arid Mr. Pinnock. The 
bull died. The cow pined and took to wandering. 
Mrs. Lewis was sorry for her grief, and when Mr. 
Hooper decided to shoot her, to provide beef for a 
certain feast, Mrs. Lewis was torn between senti 
ment and prudence. She could not touch such 
unholy beef, nor could she be sorry that it would 
feed a hungry crowd. 

Her garden was an increasing joy to her, and 
though she loved flowers with something akin to 
passion, her dutifulness as a housewife made 
kitchen produce her first care. When Mr. Lewis 
and Mr. Hooper, who also had the building gift 
much to his senior colleague s joy, had erected 
the permanent houses, residential conditions were 
pleasant enough. 

But Mrs. Lewis was not in Kibokolo for pleasure, 
but for souls; and as the years passed her hunger 
grew. It was joy to her when she had a decent 
school once more, and women sitting at her feet 
to listen to the gospel ; and the new chapel and 
the ultimately growing congregations called forth 
her glad thanksgiving ; but she wanted souls ; and 



LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

when the call to Kimpese came, her lament was 
that she would not be in Kibokolo when the 
harvest of souls began, of the coming of which 
she had no doubt. Even as she was writing this 
lament, news arrived of the baptism of the first 
Kibokolo convert, and she took her part in the 
happiness of Mr. and Mrs. Hooper, and of their 
common Lord. 

Shortly after her return from furlough in 1902 
tragical events occurred which desolated the towns 
about the station, and darkened the immediate 
outlook of the Mission. But light came again into 
the sky, and the work went on. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were fortunate in their 
colleagues at Kibokolo : an immeasurable mercy ! 
John Pinnock was their old and tried friend. Mr. 
Hooper, who came out to them fresh from Bristol 
College, was made of true missionary stuff, and 
walked straight into their affections and their 
confidence. When later Mrs. Hooper appeared in 
Kibokolo she found waiting for her a great 
woman s love, which by God s grace she knew how 
to appreciate, to retain, and to deserve. Mr. and 
Mrs. Bowskill s temporary sojourn in Kibokolo 
was also a great joy to Mrs. Lewis, and the friend 
ship formed in the months of its duration lasted to 
the end of her life. 

From Kibokolo she made many journeys with 
her husband, of which only hints and glimpses can 
be given to the reader, and one journey without 
him. The story of this journey and its sequel is so 
unique and heroic, that I have detached it from 
the sequence of events, and related it at some 
length in a following chapter. 



1899] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 231 

For the rest the reader must be content with a 
selection of passages from Mrs. Lewis s corre 
spondence, which I am not without hope may 
suffice to convey, in their cumulative effect, a 
realistic impression of life at Kibokolo. 

"November 13, 1899. Alice wonders how I 
should like to be doing servant s work. As a 
matter of fact that is what I am chiefly doing 
these days since coming here. No, none of the 
San Salvador people are with us here. We have 
two wretched workmen from another town, our 
own boy Veza, and John Pinnock s boy Kinsengwa. 
That is our staff of workmen, with another man 
who originally came from Zombo, but is leaving 
at the end of the year. Then we have Kumbu and 
Zika, two boys about twelve, who have been with 
us some time at San Salvador and wished to stay 
with us ; Kidimbu, a little boy of about eight, who 
comes from Nkaba, where Nlekai is working, and 
John Pinnock s Mayowela, a little fellow of seven. 
I have two girls, Talanga and Salune, aged respec 
tively, perhaps, eleven and thirteen, and between 
us we do all there is to be done, cooking, washing, 
mangling, ironing, and the regular routine, besides 
some ground clearing and sewing ; and I have 
school with those six in the afternoon. Of course, 
being so small, they can do nothing without help. 
All my mornings have to be given up to household 
matters ; but these things are important, without 
which we cannot keep in health, so I don t consider 
it is time wasted, although it is not so much to 
my taste as preaching and teaching. 

" Yesterday was Sunday, and Tom and I went 
to another town to hold a service. The chief 



232 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

there rejoices in the name of Lion s tail, and is 
the most sensible chief about here, though he is 
not much interested in God s palaver yet. Kinzala, 
his town, is about an hour from here. I went on 
Pinnock s donkey (who, by the way, has his head 
in at the door now). It is rather awkward riding 
sideways on a man s saddle, but I can manage it. 
We had not a large congregation as there was a 
funeral near, but our great object just now is to 
make friends. There was a nice little baby present 
who would come to me and didn t want to leave 
the first in Zombo who has made friends, and I 
was quite pleased, for I miss all the little people 
at San Salvador who were my special friends. 
It was such a broiling day. I got so sunburnt 
that I am the colour of a lobster to-day. It was 
90 in the shade yesterday. To-day it is raining 
and thundering incessantly. The weather just 
now is very trying, and in our grass-house, of 
course, we feel it more, not having proper doors 
and windows, so that the house is very draughty 
and one has to be very careful not to take cold. 

"In the afternoon yesterday I went round the 
town and got into conversation with some women. 
One woman, when I asked her if she wouldn t 
come to meeting to hear God s palaver said, 
But I have nothing to pay so how can I come ? 
That, of course, gave me a good opportunity of 
telling her about the free gift of God s love to all 
the world. This woman has been very friendly, 
and is the only one, so far, who has invited me 
into her house." 

" April 10, 1900. (A circular letter to children.) 
Since I last wrote to you we have removed 



1900] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 233 

from our old home at San Salvador, where we 
spent so many happy years, and are settled here 
at the new station my husband and self and Mr. 
Pinnock. I expect you will have read in the 
Herald about the opening of the new chapel at 
San Salvador, which Mr. Lewis had just finished 
before we left, and also about our arrival here. 
We were very sorry to leave all our dear friends, 
and on the day we parted we felt very sad indeed. 
But we are glad to be allowed to tell of God s love 
to those who have none others to tell them of it, 
and we often have nice letters from our old girls 
and boys in San Salvador, and sometimes some of 
the men come as carriers with our mails, so we do 
not forget one another. . . . 

" Well, now, I am sure you want to hear some 
thing about our work here. You must remember 
it is very different from that at San Salvador. At 
present we are living in grass-houses, with just the 
sand for a floor. We have no chapel, only an open 
porch, where we meet on Sundays, and every 
afternoon I have school, a very small one, in our 
room, which has to serve all purposes except 
sleeping. We have only been here six months, 
and the people, although they begin to know us 
a little, still cannot understand what we have 
come for. They say, These white men do not buy 
rubber or cows ; they do not come here to rule, 
and they want us to come and talk with them 
and to send our children. They must want to buy 
our spirits and send them to the white man s 
country. We are not going to be caught ! We 
will keep our women and children away, and while 
we will not offend them because they are very 



234 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

powerful, we will just watch to see what they are 
up to. Some time ago there was heard a peculiar 
rumbling sound, like a very slight shock of earth 
quake. When they heard it they said, That is 
Lewis s train, taking the spirits away. Some of the 
men had been to Tumba and seen the train there. 

"For some weeks now the country has been very 
unsettled, and the other towns threatened to come 
and fight our chief, Kapela, and his people, because 
they kept a white man in their town. Just then 
there happened, as is common in March, to be a 
lull in the rains, and their farms were getting dry. 
Now that April is in the rains have begun again. 
But the people put this down to us. While they 
were unfriendly we stopped the rain ; now the 
palaver is nearly over we have brought it again. 
Poor creatures! how we long for the time when 
they shall open their hearts to receive our message 
of a loving Father and a tender Saviour and know 
that all things are ordered by Him. We have made 
a beginning ; we have four little Zombo boys on 
the station, and I should like to tell you how we 
got them. When we had been here two or three 
months we thought it was time to make an effort 
to get children to school. So we asked all the 
chiefs of the district to meet us one day as we 
had something to talk to them about. 

" They had been expecting this, and fifteen came 
with their followers altogether over a hundred 
men assembled. We had made preparation for 
their entertainment, had killed and cooked a goat, 
opened some tins of sardines, and got some towns- 
women to cook luku for them. Then we made 
three or four large jugs of lemonade. They would 



1900] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 235 

not enter the house, so we spread mats for them 
outside, while we three sat under the eaves. Then 
Mr. Lewis told them once more the reasons for 
our being here, and that we wanted to teach their 
children. Those near could come daily ; but we 
wanted some others to live with us, so that they 
might know our ways and might learn to read 
in God s book. There ensued a long discussion 
One after another the chiefs spoke, some saying 
that was not what they wished for. They wanted 
a trader who would help them to get rich. Finally 
they went off to consult among themselves. When 
they returned most of them said they were willing 
to give us some boys, some did not speak, while 
others said they would let us have some carriers, 
but did not want their children to come to us. 
What was the good ? However, they settled a day 
when they should bring some boys, and then we 
invited them into one of the houses to eat. But 
no, they would not enter ; so the chop was 
brought and they eat it as they sat, only one or 
two refusing to partake, as to eat goat in Kongo 
means to acknowledge the one who provides it as 
your chief. I wished we could have photographed 
the scene, but we thought it might frighten them. 
" On the day appointed only two parties turned 
up Kapela, our head chief, and one other. 
Kapela brought three little boys and two young 
men, but as the latter have wives and families we 
said they could come daily to school. The three 
boys were delighted, and when their relatives 
backs were turned began to dance for joy, and 
very proud they were when I rigged them out in 
new shirts and cloths. 



236 

" One of them is very bright, and gets on fast ; 
the others are slower, but the youngest is a dear, 
affectionate little fellow. I must not tell you 
more about them now, or you will get tired of this 
letter ; but just one thing I will add, to show you 
they are already learning the best of all truths. 
The other day in school I asked, Who is the Son 
of God? and Mpululu answered, Jesus. Then, 
What did He come to earth for ? and one of my 
Congo boys said, To save us. But I asked again, 
To save us from what ? and again Mpululu 
answered, From our sins. I thought that a very 
nice answer from a little heathen boy ; don t you ? 

" May 2. Edward usually comes to school 
and has regular larks with the children, racing 
about with them. Sometimes they get on his 
back, and he goes quietly a little way, then sud 
denly kicks up his heels and off they go. They 
don t mind : there is only soft sand to fall on. It is 
just mischief of his ! It is quite pretty to see little 
Mvulu cuddling him. I am going to get a snap 
shot one day of them. Well, this is a long rigma 
role, mainly nonsense. But really I have not 
much to write. It is foundation work just now, 
and apparently little or nothing being done. On 
Sunday we had three boys, or men, to service here. 
J. P. went to a town close by and was sent away : 
They didn t want the teaching. Tom went to 
Nzamba in the afternoon and had a pretty fair 
audience, thirty to forty; J. P. to another town 
and had twelve. I cannot get about much till the 
rain ceases, and, besides, I have not been very first 
rate neuralgia, &c. But I feel better now, and 
trust to be all right when the dry season comes." 



1900] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 237 

"June 22. We have just returned from a 
visit of eight days to Kimfuti, Ndosiman s town. 
There was a funeral there and lots of people from 
other towns, so we had splendid opportunities for 
preaching. The people are friendly and the women 
not afraid, so we had quite a good time and have 
brought back with us the chief s nephew, a nice 
little boy of about eleven years old, I should 
think. I expect we shall get more from there 
later. We stayed at another town half-way, going 
and coming, and they too were friendly." 

" July 14. We have had no news later 
than May 25th, so know nothing. How thankful 
I shall be to hear that it [the Boer War] is at 
an end. Of course we have been interested in the 
demonstrations about the relief of Mafeking, and 
are delighted at the news, and proud of B. P. & 
Co., but people really seem to have gone mad. 

" Here we are very quiet, and there is really 
nothing to tell. They are waiting for the materials 
to come up from Matadi to begin the new house. 
But there is a difficulty about carriers." 

" October 12th. The other day I got into a rare 
pickle. I went to a town an hour and a quarter 
from here, and, coming home, the donkey, having 
fasted for an hour or two, grew thinner, and the 
saddle got very loose and kept tumbling on one 
side. At last it was hopeless, especially as I had 
no bridle, and Edward would keep going round 
when the saddle twisted. I did not feel up to 
walking all the way home, as it was blazing hot. 
Fortunately I only had the three girls with me, so 
I made a virtue of necessity, and rode astride 
(Don t be too shocked, there was no one to see !) 



240 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

pulls one down so. He is very busy starting our 
new house ; Mr. Hooper helps him in the morning, 
and takes school in the afternoon. I take the 
medicine in the morning, which is not much here 
compared with what it was at San Salvador. In 
the afternoon I give my three girls some lessons, 
and on Wednesday evening I have all the children 
to a Bible class. Yesterday was Sunday, and we 
had about twenty outside people to the service. 
That is the largest number we have had since we 
returned. I get two or three women sometimes 
to come and talk with me, and the girls on Sunday 
afternoons, but as yet I cannot get any girls to 
school. Some want to come very much, and one 
little thing came several afternoons running ; but 
she has been stopped by her master, and it is the 
same with the others ; so there is nothing for it 
but patience. They will come in time. I do all 
I can to make friends with the women ; I go round 
the towns as often as possible with the girls, so 
as to get them accustomed to me and to get to 
know them. Just now there seems nothing but 
burials ; day and night the drums are going, and 
the people dancing and howling. The darkness 
is appalling to think of, and although the light is 
here, as yet they will not come to it. Of course 
it is nothing new ; but it is so different from 
where we have been before. There the difficulty 
was to find time to talk to all the people who 
wanted to be taught ; here the trouble is to get 
the people to listen." 

"September 30th. Well! here there is nothing 
to write about. Tom is housebuilding, assisted 
by Mr. Hooper, who teaches the boys in the 



1902] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 241 

afternoon, and studies the language in the 
evenings. They both of them take prayers in turn, 
to which we try to get the people to come, without 
much success so far. As for me, I am a kind of 
maid-of-all-work. I am housekeeper, gardener, 
organist, and occasional preacher, i.e., when they 
both go out on Sunday morning. Sometimes, too, 
I go round to the towns on Sunday afternoon and 
hold a service. Last Sunday, after hunting every 
body up, I got thirty, sometimes we only get 
two or three. One of the women who lives close 
by has just been here to sell plantain. I asked her 
why she did not come to service ; she said, What 
will you give me for coming ? and that is the 
answer one usually gets." 

"October 8, 1902. (A circular letter.) A sad 
trouble has befallen us. As I write I look from 
the window upon the still smoking ruins of what 
but two days ago was the flourishing and most 
populous township in Zombo. But I will begin 
at the beginning and try to tell you what has 
happened. 

"This is Wednesday. On Sunday morning, as 
we were just about to sit down to breakfast, two 
soldiers came asking to buy something. We told 
them to wait till the next day, and inquired then 
what they were here for. They said they had 
come from the Resident at Makela to demand 
carriers which were owing to him from Nzamba 
(the town just opposite, across the stream). We 
thought the people would be a little frightened, so 
did not expect a good meeting. Tom and Mr. 
Hooper went off, each to separate towns, and I had 
the service here. On their return we all felt a 

Englishwoman in Africa 17 



242 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

little encouraged, for I had had over twenty 
townsfolk here, and they both had had fair num 
bers to listen. 

"In passing through Nzamba Tom had found 
about fifteen soldiers there, he had also seen some 
of our folks and told them to keep quiet and give 
the men that were owing. Just before dinner we 
heard the sound of rifle firing, and as we sat at 
table the boys told us three men had been shot by 
the soldiers. Tom and Mr. H. went over to see 
if it were true, and found one man, the coming 
chief, dead, and two others of the headmen badly 
shot, both of whom died that evening. The 
soldiers had gone to the town where they were 
staying, and the people were vowing vengeance on 
Nkil a nkosi, the chief of that town. 

" There is an old feud between these towns and 
his, and lately Nkil a nkosi has attached himself 
to the Portuguese Resident and traders at Makela, 
and has been doing his best to get our people into 
trouble. Now, through their own foolishness, he 
has succeeded only too well. 

" It seems that the soldiers tied up one of the 
headmen, and two others rushed to untie him, 
whereupon the soldiers fired and shot all three. 
One soldier was badly wounded. He is here now, 
and we are afraid he will not recover. 

" Tom tried all he could to persuade the Nzamba 
people not to follow the soldiers, but they would 
not listen, and when they had finished attending 
to the sick men the fighting men were all on their 
way to the fight. 

" In the meantime the people were rushing here, 
bringing all their poor belongings into the station 



1902] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 243 

as it was too late to go far. Our yard was soon 
full of women and children, goats, pigs, two cats, 
fowls, baskets of manioc and other food, and 
bunches of plantain which had been hastily cut 
down ; while under our house were packed matetes 
containing cloth, beads, gunpowder, &c. They 
were far too frightened to go back to their houses 
that night, so we packed them in with the children 
as well as we could, only glad to be able to prove 
to them that we were sorry for their trouble and 
wanted to help them. The men came begging Tom 
and Mr. H. to go and fight on their side, and 
because they refused, cannot understand how we 
can be their friends. Night at last came, and very 
little sleep any one had, as you may imagine, and 
by dawn the next morning all the women and 
children, or nearly all, had left the town to go to 
their various families in other and more distant 
towns. The Nzamba men buried their dead the 
first thing without any noise and did not intend to 
fight again that day, but the other side came down 
the hill calling out to them, so they went, and 
returned in the evening very proud of themselves, 
saying they had conquered. But their triumph 
was very shortlived. 

" Yesterday morning about eleven o clock we 
saw from our window the Portuguese flag on the 
top of the hill, and very soon recognised the Resi 
dent just behind, accompanied by four soldiers and 
men carrying his hammock. 

" He came straight to the station, would not 
take any refreshment, said he merely wanted 
to hear what we knew of the palaver, and to 
ask us to see to the soldier who had been 



244 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

wounded, and to ask me for some medicine for 
his wife. 

" October 10th. I had to leave off, but now I 
must try to go on with my tale. The Resident left 
us, saying that he was going to see the chiefs of 
the towns, but we could see from our windows 
that the towns were quite empty, and he simply 
passed through and returned whence he came. 
Directly after dinner Tom and Mr. Hooper rode 
off to see the sick soldier, and met him being 
brought here in a hammock. The Resident had 
told us that he had a thousand men from Makela 
with him, and they saw the valley was full of 
armed men. They had come from all the towns 
round ; some to pay off old scores, others to be 
on the winning side, and to save themselves had 
joined Nkila. We gathered the children and 
workmen into our house and there stood and 
watched as they poured down the hill in hundreds 
and set fire to all the houses in Nzamba. It was 
hard for our three boys who came from there to 
see their town in flames and to know that their 
enemies had the best of it. They could not have 
done it except with the white man s soldiers, they 
said. At last they crossed the brook which sepa 
rates the two towns, and began burning this one. 
The old man who is our nearest neighbour and 
the headman of this part stayed on the station, 
for his wife had gone with the other women. He 
has been a friend to us from the beginning, and 
it was very pathetic to see the poor old man 
watching with eager eyes as they came nearer 
and nearer to his house. They went into all the 
huts and took anything that was left. I am glad 



1902] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 245 

to say it was not much in this town, but when 
they came near the station they stopped burning, 
and just then a tremendous storm came on, the 
worst we have had this season. 

"The two little towns which I generally visit 
on a Sunday afternoon were destroyed, and one 
on the other side nearest to us. Whether it was 
the storm that stopped them going further we do 
not know, but they did not return to burn any 
more, though some came down the next morning 
to finish looting. We sent up to ask for some 
help with the sick man, and two soldiers came 
to stay with their wounded comrade. Soon after 
that the white sergeant arrived with a message 
asking Tom to call the chiefs of Kibokolo together. 
We were very glad to be able to say with truth 
that we did not know where they were, for it was 
only to get them into a trap. 

" Yesterday morning the poor soldier died ; his 
wounds had been left too long for any but skilled 
help to avail. They came and carried him away 
for burial, and that is the last we have seen of 
them. We hear that the Resident has gone back 
to meet the delimitation party at Makela, but the 
soldiers are left at Kimalomba (Nkila s town), and 
they are vowing vengeance against these people, 
so we are afraid we have not seen the end yet. 

" There are fifteen houses left in this town ; the 
next nearest is ten minutes away, and there are 
plenty of people within an hour. But it is a ter 
rible upset, and at present we hardly know what 
to do or say. One little consolation we have, that 
the people evidently understand that we are their 
friends. 



248 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

"As I write, further bad news has come that 
three towns which were spared have decided to 
go away. If so, we shall be left in the midst of a 
howling wilderness. We can only wait at present 
and pray for guidance." 

"November 17th. Tom is very busy building. 
There seems no end to building of one kind and 
another. You see here, where our houses only 
consist of three or four rooms, there are so many 
outbuildings needed to each house, besides chapel, 
carpenter s shed, blacksmith s shed, and stores. 
Now he is just going to build a dispensary. The 
old house which we have been using for that and a 
store combined, may come down any day in a 
heavy storm. Mr. Hooper s house is going on at 
the same time, and with these wonderfully indus 
trious men I can tell you it is no joke. 

" So many sad things seem to be happening 
everywhere. I am afraid our dear old B.M.S. is 
getting into hot water over these atrocities. I do 
think that the Congo State has been too much 
praised by some ; still it is absurd to suppose that 
any of our missionaries would condone brutality 
or injustice. Perhaps they have been slow to 
believe things which they have not seen them 
selves. Personally I never had any love for 
King Leopold or the State. I even prefer the 
easy-going Portuguese." 

" February 20, 1903. I had to leave off there the 
other night, so must try to finish now. Since then 
the old chief of this district came the other day, or 
rather sent to say that he was outside the station, 
and wanted Tom to go to him, as he had eaten 
iikisi not to come in. Tom sent word that if he 



1903] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 249 

wanted him he must come in, as he had nothing to 
do with his nkisi palavers. So he and the other 
men came just inside, to where our new house is, 
and had a long talk ; but there is no doing any 
thing with these people. They wanted us to 
guarantee that no Makela man should come any 
nearer than Nkil a nkosi s town, and declared there 
would be no peace until Nkila and Nzanza (his 
fellow chief) were both killed ; that until then 
they would not settle down, and the country 
would not be at rest. 

"They are brimming over with revenge, and 
think of nothing else. A man named Luvumbu, 
the chief of a little town which was burnt, called 
Wembo, is now the head of all this district. He 
was the one who refused our chop when all the 
chiefs promised us boys a long time ago when we 
first settled here. He professed to be tamed as 
regards having dealings with us, but the other day 
when Tom offered a tin of sardines each to the 
three chiefs, he refused one. Nearly everybody 
here is related to him, and he is the head cook in 
all witch palavers, so prospects are not very bright. 
I am afraid there is little chance of the regular 
people coming back here for a very long time. It 
is very disheartening, and just now we are so tied 
with one thing and another. Mr. Hooper is not 
well, we lack carriers, and the mules are ill, so 
that we cannot get about to the other towns as 
we should like to do. Even the nearest towns are 
difficult to reach this time of the year, as now the 
people do not clean the roads, and to walk through 
the wet grass means a good wetting and a good 
chance of fever. If the mules were well we could 



250 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

get to those near. Then besides, Tom has his 
hands full with the new house and a brilliant lot 
of workmen, who mostly do nothing if he is not 
there ; or if they do attempt anything it is pretty 
sure to have to be undone again. So you can see 
what a nice hole we are in at present. I hope 
things will change for the better before long, 
though as far as we can see they are not likely 
to." 

" April 18th. Certainly everything has been so 
far most disappointing, and disappointment is de 
pressing here, for there is nothing to take it off. 
As soon as the rains cease and Mr. Bowskill has got 
into the station work, Tom and I hope to get out 
to the towns round about. We shall not be able 
to go far, as Mr. Bowskill will be alone, but 
there are very many towns we want to visit. We 
are also anxious to get some more children on the 
station. Just now the chiefs are at San Salvador, 
and we are anxiously awaiting their return. If 
they come back with everything settled we are 
going to have high jinks, a big feed for them and 
the station children and workmen. I think I told 
you J. P. and Mr. H. had a bull and cow between 
them. Well, the poor bull died, after which the 
cow took to wandering, and was away quite a long 
time. The other night she returned. Mr. H. 
means to shoot her for the feed. I need not say 
I shall not partake of it; but I suppose every one 
else will enjoy the beef. I daresay it is the 
kindest thing to do, for she is very lean, and not 
very happy, I should say." 

" June 3rd. (Circular letter to children.) It seems 
a long time since I wrote to you, but no doubt you 



1903] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 251 

have read about us in the Herald, and have heard 
how all the towns close to our station were burnt 
down, so that the poor people had to run away. 
Some had friends in other towns to whom they 
could go, but many lived in the bush for several 
months, building themselves little shelters in the 
tall grass, so that no one might know where they 
were. A short time ago the Portuguese Governor 
sent word that they might return and build their 
towns, and live in peace if they would obey the 
laws, but the chiefs of the towns must first go to 
San Salvador and obtain permission of the magis 
trate there. At first they were very much 
frightened at the idea and did not like to go, but 
at last we persuaded the chief of the biggest town, 
Nzamba, to venture, and when he returned safe 
and sound the others consented to go also. Now 
it is the dry season, and they want to begin to 
build. They were much astonished at all they saw 
at San Salvador, and very pleased with their visit. 
All this has greatly interrupted our work. A very 
few people could come to listen to God s Word on 
Sundays, and those in the towns around were so 
frightened and restless that it was of little use our 
going to them. 

"The witch doctors had passed a law that no 
children were to come to school, so if we asked 
any boy to come one day, the next he had run 
away and was nowhere to be found. 

"Now, however, things are beginning to look 
brighter. When the people said they were coming 
back, we called the chiefs together and told them 
they must take away this law about school and 
allow any one to come who wished. We also said 



252 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

we expected them to keep the promise they made 
a long time back, to bring us some boys to live on 
the station so that we might teach them good 
fashions. After a great deal of talk they agreed, 
and a few days after came with six boys, such 
funny little fellows the eldest about eight, per 
haps ; but he, poor child, is an orphan and slightly 
crippled, his feet being deformed. He also has a 
skin disease which I hope to be able to cure in 
time. He has been badly neglected. His name is 
Nsurnbi. Next to him is Nekiana ; he is about 
seven, and is a bright, sharp boy, who, I think, will 
learn very quickly. Then comes Ntambu, about six 
years old, a good-tempered, lovable little fellow, 
but a little inclined to be lazy and dirty. The 
three others are about four and five years of age 
such little mites ! At first I said they ought to be 
with their mothers, but when we were told they 
had none we consented to take them. Their 
names are Nzingula, Nzuzi, Muntu ; their poor 
little fingers and toes have been badly eaten by 
jigg ers > the nasty little insects of which some of 
you have heard ; but I hope soon they will be 
quite well. You see they are all little, so we hope 
to be able to teach them many things, and that 
when they know more about Jesus, they will 
begin to love Him and try to please Him. They 
all go to school, and the two elder ones have 
already learnt their ABC. 

" So far I have not been able to get any Zombo 
girls either to school or to live with us. There are 
many nice little girls about who come sometimes 
for medicine, and some of them would like very 
much to come into the station. A woman told me 



1903] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 253 

the other day that her child wanted to come and 
she would like her to, but I am afraid the man to 
whom she belongs will not let her. The girls here 
are betrothed when quite babies to old men who 
have money to buy them. These men do not like 
them to learn, because they are afraid if they do 
they will not want to be their wives when they 
grow up. No doubt that would be so. However, 
I am in hopes of getting my first Zombo girl in this 
week. The chief of Nzamba has promised to bring 
me some girls, and I believe he is trying to get 
them ; but he owns a number of little girls and 
does not like to give them up, and the other people 
are just the same ; because in this land little girls 
are articles that can be bought and sold just like 
pigs or goats. It seems so sad that nice little 
children should be sacrificed in this way ; that is 
why we are so anxious to get them to school, so 
that when they grow up they may know better. 

" There are so many dreadful customs here 
which make us feel very sad, and we know that 
it is only the light of the gospel of Jesus which 
can dispel the darkness and give these people 
the desire to live differently. 

" I want you all, especially those of you who 
love Jesus, to pray with us for these Zombo boys 
and girls, that very soon a great many may come 
to school, and there learn to read the Word of 
God and to love the dear Saviour who died for 
us all." 

Toward the end of July, Mr. and Mrs. Cameron 
came from Wathen to spend a few weeks at 
Kibokolo. This visit was especially welcome to 
Mrs. Lewis, as Mrs. Cameron was one of her old 



252 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

we expected them to keep the promise they made 
a long time back, to bring us some boys to live on 
the station so that we might teach them good 
fashions. After a great deal of talk they agreed, 
and a few days after came with six boys, such 
funny little fellows the eldest about eight, per 
haps ; but he, poor child, is an orphan and slightly 
crippled, his feet being deformed. He also has a 
skin disease which I hope to be able to cure in 
time. He has been badly neglected. His name is 
Nsuinbi. Next to him is Nekiana ; he is about 
seven, and is a bright, sharp boy, who, I think, will 
learn very quickly. Then comes Ntambu, about six 
years old, a good-tempered, lovable little fellow, 
but a little inclined to be lazy and dirty. The 
three others are about four and five years of age 
such little mites ! At first I said they ought to be 
with their mothers, but when we were told they 
had none we consented to take them. Their 
names are Nzingula, Nzuzi, Muntu ; their poor 
little fingers and toes have been badly eaten by 
jigg ers / the nasty little insects of which some of 
you have heard; but I hope soon they will be 
quite well. You see they are all little, so we hope 
to be able to teach them many things, and that 
when they know more about Jesus, they will 
begin to love Him and try to please Him. They 
all go to school, and the two elder ones have 
already learnt their ABC. 

" So far I have not been able to get any Zombo 
girls either to school or to live with us. There are 
many nice little girls about who come sometimes 
for medicine, and some of them would like very 
much to come into the station. A woman told me 



1903] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 253 

the other day that her child wanted to come and 
she would like her to, but I am afraid the man to 
whom she belongs will not let her. The girls here 
are betrothed when quite babies to old men who 
have money to buy them. These men do not like 
them to learn, because they are afraid if they do 
they will not want to be their wives when they 
grow up. No doubt that would be so. However, 
I am in hopes of getting my first Zombo girl in this 
week. The chief of Nzamba has promised to bring 
me some girls, and I believe he is trying to get 
them ; but he owns a number of little girls and 
does not like to give them up, and the other people 
are just the same ; because in this land little girls 
are articles that can be bought and sold just like 
pigs or goats. It seems so sad that nice little 
children should be sacrificed in this way ; that is 
why we are so anxious to get them to school, so 
that when they grow up they may know better. 
" There are so many dreadful customs here 
which make us feel very sad, and we know that 
it is only the light of the gospel of Jesus which 
can dispel the darkness and give these people 
the desire to live differently. 

"I want you all, especially those of you who 
love Jesus, to pray with us for these Zombo boys 
and girls, that very soon a great many may come 
to school, and there learn to read the Word of 
God and to love the dear Saviour who died for 
us all." 

Toward the end of July, Mr. and Mrs. Cameron 
came from Wathen to spend a few weeks at 
Kibokolo. This visit was especially welcome to 
Mrs. Lewis, as Mrs. Cameron was one of her old 



254 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

Camden Road friends, and though younger by a 
good many years, it is still true that she and Mrs. 
Lewis were at school together. The friendship 
had been maintained, and the reunion in Zombo 
was no small joy and refreshment to both. The 
visitors made holiday, but busy holiday. The 
work of the Station went on, and Mr. Cameron 
accompanied Mr. Lewis upon an eight days 
journey of itineration. The interest of the happy 
intercourse at Kibokolo was deepened by the 
arrival of Mr. Bentley before the Camerons left, 
and Mrs. Lewis records her happiness in his 
presence and her concern for his health. Indeed, 
all three of her visitors were ill and required 
nursing during their stay, which was prolonged 
in consequence. On August 27 they all departed, 
having given and received cheer. 

"September llth. Of course we had a big day 
when they (Mr. and Mrs. Bowskill) arrived ; and the 
same week we had other visitors : the Governor 
of Cabinda, the Resident from San Salvador, the 
Resident from Makela, and another white man 
with them. The Governor seems a very nice 
man, and we hope that his visit will result in 
good to the people. Tom told him exactly how 
matters stood, and how the soldiers behaved when 
they came to the towns ; also how Nkil a nkosi 
used the Resident s name in terrorising these folk. 
The Governor sent for Nkila, who came in style 
with all his followers. He also sent for the people 
and chiefs of these towns and had a long talk 
with them ; told them that they must live in 
peace and that they were to send their children 
to school, so that they might learn good ways 



1903] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 255 

and be able to read, and that if any one came to 
trouble them, they might tie him up, and send 
him to San Salvador and on to Cabinda. They 
were all very polite and tried not to give trouble ; 
but you can imagine I had a busy time of it, 
having eight to sit down to table. They were 
here one night only and two days. They looked 
at the ground and were supposed to measure it, 
but accepted Tom s measurements. We are very 
glad they have been. Nlekai is still with us. 
He is to leave in a fortnight. We shall miss him 
very much, he has been such a help. By that 
time the B. s will be settled in their own house 
and we shall be able to start work regularly 
again. I hope you will see Mr. Hooper while 
he is at home. Is it not a trial for poor John 
Pinnock, having to leave his wife at home so 
soon? I am sorry for them both." 

"October llth. To-day we have opened the first 
chapel in Zomboland. Tom, Nlekai & Co. have 
been hard at work for the last three weeks putting 
it up, and it looks so nice. Iron walls with four 
windows, shutters on each side, two doors, grass 
roof and a platform. On the platform to-day was 
our travelling table, covered with the cloth which 
you and Alice gave me when at home, I think, 
my harmonium, Mr. Bowskill as organist, and 
the four of us. The school children were just 
in front. We had been busy practising hymns, 
as we wanted to make it a big day as 
well as we could. We sent round to all the 
chiefs, but without much success ; only Nem- 
bamba, the chief of Kimfuti Nkueu, arrived. 
Some of them say they are coming next Sunday 



256 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

instead, as they had a funeral going on, but ! 
we shall see. Still we had a good time. The 
children sang very nicely, each of us gave a short 
address, and all repeated the Commandments 
together. The people listened very attentively ; 
Tom and Mr. B. both led in prayer, and we can 
only hope and pray that some word may have 
fallen into good ground and bring forth fruit 
in days and years to come." 

In February, 1904, in the course of an itineration, 
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis arrived at Kimpemba, where 
they met Mr. Bentley. The story of the meeting 
is briefly told by Mrs. Lewis as follows : " Kim 
pemba, February 15, 1904. There is a chance of 
sending, so I am just writing the latest news. We 
arrived here Saturday, 13th, and found Mr. Bentley, 
who had been suffering from influenza. He was 
up, but that night went to bed in fever, and is not 
up yet. His cough is bad. It is awkward here 
with no proper house, bed, or other comforts. 
Fortunately we have plenty of fowls. Expecting 
to be back in less than a fortnight, we did not 
bring much with us. Of course we shall not leave 
Mr. Bentley until he is fairly well, and fit to 
return. Tom and I have a little neuralgia, but are 
quite well. 17th. Mr. B. is decidedly better." 

" Kibokolo, March 7. I wrote you a card when 
we were at Kimpemba, telling you how ill Mr. 
Bentley was. I am glad to say he got fairly well 
before we left, and was able to proceed on his 
journey, but he is very shaky, though awfully 
plucky. I do hope he will go home soon. I did 
my best to persuade him, but he said there was 
this thing and the other which he must do first. 



1904] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 257 

Still he acknowledged that he must go as soon 
as possible, as he did not wish to throw away his 
life. We spent six days there and were very 
glad to have a little time with him, although 
we were only able to have chop together one 
day. He was asking about you all." 

" March 25, 1904. (To Miss Ethel Percival.) 
You would love the little birds here ! on a fine 
day there are crowds. Sweet little palm birds, 
soft brown, with lovely blue breasts, and the 
dancing birds the cocks with long tail feathers, 
some six inches long, and very handsome black 
and white plumage, and their little brown mates 
dance a kind of jig while on the wing. This is 
a regular bird paradise, for no gun, arrow, or 
missile of any kind is allowed to be used within 
our part of the station. I am afraid dear Sandy 
sometimes makes a meal of poultry, but he 
usually confines himself to rats, of which there 
is an abundant supply, and he never touches the 
chickens or ducks which are all running about. 
Some of our English chickens hatched here are 
very fine birds, and the ducks do well too. But 
I try not to take too much interest in them indi 
vidually, because you see some of them have to 
be eaten eventually. Dear Dombe is growing, 
but I do not think he will be a big donkey. He 
is much petted, and I think enjoys his little self. 
He does not like Sundays, for his friends then 
retire to the chapel for very long periods, he 
thinks. He welcomes them rapturously on their 
return. 

" I have been very busy this week sewing and 
writing. It was no use to go into the town for 

Englishwoman in Africa 18 



258 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

there are two funerals proceeding, and the people 
are too busy and excited with drink and dancing 
to listen to anything. Then it is Mrs. Bowskill s 
week for school we take it week about so I 
have taken the opportunity to answer some of 
the letters which have been waiting for replies. 
Then too I am writing a catechism for little 
children on the Life of Our Lord, which is 
getting on." 

" July 10th. I think I told you in my last that 
I am taking school in the morning now, boys and 
girls together. There are thirty-six in all. I quite 
enjoy having a respectable school again. I like 
school teaching better than any work, I think, 
when I am well. Then with the medicine, house, 
girls work and small boys to see to in the after 
noon I am pretty busy, as you may imagine. 
Between whiles Tom and I do just a little garden 
ing, so as to keep some fresh vegetable going 
(that is mostly my department) ; Tom is growing 
vines and roses. So between us we are getting 
a few things about the station. Then there are 
the services for Tom on Sunday, and prayers every 
morning in chapel, and my class on Sunday after 
noons for all young folks on station, when they 
learn portions of Scripture by rote to repeat to 
me, and a class of big boys on Wednesday 
evenings, whom I am taking through the Acts. 
So though sadly behind in visiting and itineration 
we are working for the future, and trust and 
pray that some of the young folk may prove to 
be blessings in their towns in the years to come." 

" February, 1905. (Circular letter to children.) 
It is rather a long time since I wrote to you about 



1905] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 259 

the work here, but I have no doubt you read the 
Herald and so know a little of how we are 
going on. This is such a very dark spot, and the 
saddest part is that now the True Light has come 
into their midst the people still prefer darkness. 
Night after night we can hear them shouting and 
dancing at their fetish palavers. When any one 
falls sick they say it is caused by an evil spirit, 
and all the friends of the sick person assemble 
after dark to drive it away by charms and incan 
tations, accompanied by singing and dancing. The 
next day they will solemnly tell us that they saw 
the spirit go away into the darkness, although 
the patient is no better and oftener than not dies. 

"Yet in a few cases the light is beginning to 
pierce the gloom ; some are wishing to learn, and 
what I think is even more hopeful, some very 
few at present of the men are beginning to want 
their wives and children taught. For the last six 
months all the workmen on the station have been 
attending day or night school, and at Christmas 
time some of them came and said they saw that 
we the missionaries wives were not happy 
because the women did not come to be taught, 
so they were going to make an effort to get them, 
as they wanted their wives to learn. They made 
a feast, to which they invited all the chiefs and 
headmen, and told them that now they themselves 
went to school and knew there was no witch 
palaver in it, so they must not prevent the women 
from coming. The chiefs agreed to this, and the 
following Monday when we began school after the 
holidays two women and a little girl came. These 
two have long wished to come, but were prevented 



260 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

by the superstition of their husbands and relatives. 
Others came afterwards, so now we have eleven 
besides the nine girls who live with us on the 
station, and we hope many more will come since 
they have made a beginning. They are not stupid. 
Four have already learnt their letters, and I was 
surprised yesterday at the slate of a s written by 
one of them from the blackboard. She had a child 
in her arms, and had never attempted a stroke 
until she came to school. 

" They are very wild and dirty and not at all 
inviting-looking, but it is wonderful to see how 
gradually, almost imperceptibly, they are getting 
into order and how well they learn to say the 
text with which we close school. 

" On Sunday afternoons I have started a class 
for any girls or women who will come, and I get 
from five to fifteen besides the station girls. Some 
of these are older women who do not come to day 
school. They learn a text, and then I tell them as 
simply as I can something about Jesus. Some of 
them listen very well, and I want you all to join 
in praying for these Zombo women and girls that 
many more may come to be taught, and that those 
who do come may learn to love and follow the 
Saviour. 

"A week or two ago my husband and I went 
out for a visit to some of the towns to the north 
of this place. In some we were well received, as 
we had visited them before when we first came to 
Zombo. In one group of towns in particular we 
were able to make friends and have some nice 
talks with the people. In one town there were 
several sick folk, who were glad of medicine, and 




l .Rlli(iK OVKK U SKNGKI.K STKKAM NKAK COMHKH STATION, K1HOKOU). 



1905] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 261 

in the same town there was one woman who had 
just lost her daughter, another who had a little 
baby, and both of these seemed to like to listen to 
what I told them about the great God Who made 
us all and loves us. 

"One day a rather tiresome incident occurred, 
although we cannot help laughing when we think 
of it now. We wanted to go to a place called 
Kidia, which is on the other side of the Nkisi 
river. This is a fine river and too deep to ford ; 
the only way of crossing is in a large canoe, which 
is kept there as a ferry. We crossed, but found 
the district most miserable ; the people and the 
houses all seemed dead or dying, so we did not 
stay there long, but returned to the river at 
another place, as we wished to come back by a 
different route altogether. 

" We got to a wretched little town early in the 
morning, and as the people did not seem friendly, 
and there was not a decent house in the place, 
we decided to cross the river and go another 
way. When we arrived at the ferry the canoe 
was on the farther bank and the ferryman no 
where to be seen. The carriers called and shouted 
for about an hour, when two boys came down 
to bring the canoe over, but when they saw 
Mr. Lewis they fled, and as we heard afterwards, 
went and told the townsfolk there was some 
thing on the opposite bank, not a man at all ! 
We sat and waited, hoping they would bring 
their master, as our men called after them to 
do, but hour after hour passed and still no one 
came. At last one of our young men, the only 
one who could, swam across ; but when he 



262 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

attempted to punt the canoe, he only fell over 
into the water, so the men called to him to go 
into the town and fetch the ferryman. We 
waited another hour and a half, when the boy 
returned, saying he could find neither town nor 
people. So there was nothing for it but to go 
back to the little town we had left in the 
morning. We were very weary, for we had 
taken nothing but some biscuits and milk all 
day, and had not been able to rest at all between 
the hot sun in the open space by the river, and 
the insects when we retreated into the shade. 
The people were very angry when they saw us 
coming back ; they thought we had been driven 
away from somewhere, and suggested that if we 
had only waited till dark, the devil would 
have taken us over. We got the best house 
we could; but there was hardly room for our 
beds in the one place in the middle where the 
roof was whole, and we had hardly got them 
up before a tremendous storm came on. The 
next morning we went back to the ferry by 
which we had previously crossed and got over 
all right." 



In 1908 Mr. Lewis read a paper before the 
Royal Geographical Society in London, entitled 
" The Ancient Kingdom of Kongo." It was illus 
trated by splendid photographs, and received 
with enthusiasm. I was present, and can testify 
to the heartiness of the cheer given by the 
audience for Mrs. Lewis, who had been her 
husband s fellow-traveller. The following passage 



1905] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 263 

is taken from this paper, which was printed in 
the Geographical Journal for June, 1908 : 

"Two years ago (August to October, 1905), in 
company with my wife (who has always travelled 
with me, and assisted me in my observations 
for some twenty years), I made a journey through 
Nkusu into Mbamba, visiting on my way the 
celebrated, but now abandoned, copper mines at 
Mbembe. 

"The Nkusu district is the most populous I 
have visited in the whole of my journeyings 
through Northern Angola. The villages are 
numerous, and the inhabitants generally seemed 
to be strong and healthy. I always judge of the 
prosperity of the country by the area of land 
under cultivation. The extensive plantations of 
manioc, maize, beans, sweet potatoes, and other 
native products point to the inhabitants being 
industrious and prosperous. The Nkusu folk also 
engage in trade like all the other tribes, and 
spend much of their time away in the rubber 
market. This being a free trade in Portuguese 
Congo the natives make good profit by it. The 
highest altitude I have registered on the plateau 
is in this district, being 3,600 feet above sea- 
level. 

" I cannot help comparing this district with that 
of Kidia, on the east side of the Nkisi, where we 
passed through some of the most wretched villages 
I ever saw. There was hardly a hut fit for any 
human being to live in, and all were in a tumble 
down condition. The people were ill-fed and dirty, 
and the children the few I saw were feeding on 
palm-nuts and raw manioc. We came to two 



264 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

villages close to each other, and found that all 
the inhabitants had died of sleep-sickness. The 
carriers entered some of the huts and saw the 
bodies of two or three in the last stages of de 
composition on the floor. These were possibly 
abandoned by the small remnant who had fled 
before this terrible scourge of Central Africa. 

" It was, therefore, an agreeable change to 
travel day after day among a bright and pros 
perous tribe of people. But even there we 
came across some disagreeable scenes and cruel 
customs. One day we arrived at a village where 
they were just preparing the body of a woman 
for burial in the Lueka River close by. Our 
carriers, always attracted by a funeral feast, went 
to look on, and one of the lads ran back to tell 
us that they were going to bury a four-days-old 
baby with the mother. I hastened to the spot 
just in time to see the grandmother pulling a 
native cord and fastening the living babe to the 
neck of the dead mother. Amidst great confusion 
and wild protests I rescued the child out of her 
hands and carried it to my wife. It only lived, 
however, ten days, but we remember with horror 
that the child had been left for twenty-four hours 
to suck at the breast of a dead woman. The 
burying of infants with their dead mothers is a 
common practice through the whole Congo region, 
except where there are missionaries or Govern 
ment officials to stop it. I have heard of one 
father who reared his motherless child with native 
beer (mbamvu) and palm wine, but I know of no 
other case outside the members of Christian 
communities." 



1905] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 265 

In the course of this journey Mr. and Mrs. Lewis 
visited Mabaya, a new station far south of San 
Salvador, recently founded by Mr. and Mrs. 
Cameron. Their coming had been eagerly ex 
pected, and was warmly welcomed. They were 
delighted with the progress their friends had made 
in so short a time, and in the following letter 
Mrs. Lewis gives a brief account of the visit : 

" Mabaya, September 17th. We have been here 
nearly a week. . . . We found Josephine fairly 
well though rather depressed, for Mr. Cameron 
had been very unwell and she was very anxious 
about him. His health is not at all satisfactory. 
He has been left far too long without a colleague, 
and when the Kirklands come there ought to be 
a third man very soon, in case the Camerons have 
to return. They are holding on bravely here, 
doing with the minimum of comforts to save 
transport, and the work seems decidedly promising. 
The people here are more like San Salvador folk 
than are our wild creatures in Zombo. Josephine 
has three meetings for women ; that in the near 
town is very good, and the women are learning 
to sing quite nicely. To-day we are assisting at 
the opening of the new chapel, a very nice, large 
grass structure not quite finished. Tom and I 
are to speak this afternoon (Sunday), and to 
morrow night Tom is to show a magic lantern. 
Then, on Tuesday, we start homewards by a 
different route. I shall write a circular letter 
about our journey, so I must not write about it 
now. I had a nasty fall from my hammock 
which might have been serious. It delayed us 
a day, and kept me from doing anything for 



266 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

several days. I am thankful to say the effects 
have passed off without any permanent damage, 
though I have reminders now and then." 

" November 14th. (To Mrs. J. Jenkyn Brown.) 
We have had a most discouraging year with 
regard to the work here. It seems like a blank 
wall of superstition and wickedness, and were it 
not that we know that there is nothing impos 
sible to God we might well despair. We have 
been here now more than five years, and seem to 
make very little headway. I do hope the women s 
meetings I have just begun will be maintained. 
I have not been able to get them hitherto, so that 
is a step in the right direction. Also, the women 
are coming better now to school, but the boys 
school is so interrupted by the constant demands 
for carriers from the Portuguese authorities, who 
are simply recruiting agents for the traders. At 
women s meetings so far, I have had a number 
of boys and girls and a few men as well, but I am 
glad to get any one who will listen. The Sunday 
services are a little better attended lately, but the 
numbers are still small." 

In January, 1906, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis attended 
the United Conference of Congo Missionaries at 
Kinshasa, Stanley Pool, to which Mr. Lawson 
Forfeitt brought the heavy news of the death 
of Dr. Holman Bentley. The following passage 
is from a letter dated Kibokolo, February 3rd : 

" The ladies were a good deal to the fore in the 
meetings and there were several papers read, and 
discussions in which we all took part, about 
women s work. Then the ladies had two close 
meetings to talk over private matters with regard 



1006] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 267 

to the time for these girls to marry, &c., &c. 
These were felt to be most helpful, especially to 
the younger ones among us, who were quite 
surprised at many of the customs which we older 
ones could tell them of. I certainly feel now that 
the time was not wasted which I spent up there, 
for they said I had taught them many things 
with regard to women s work here which they 
could not have learned otherwise. I was very 
glad to have some talks with Dr. Catherine Mabie 
of Banza Manteka, on medical matters. She is so 
nice, and so are Dr. Leslie and his wife. Their little 
boy, ten months old, was with them. Then all 
other sides of the work were discussed and many 
papers read. On Sunday morning we met for a 
memorial service for Dr. Bentley, when Mr. Gren- 
fell gave such a beautiful address. After that we 
all sang a hymn I chose, which seemed to me so 
specially appropriate, 

Captain and Saviour of the host 

Of Christian Chivalry, 
We thank Thee for our comrade true, 
Now summoned up to Thee. 

"Then we had the Conference sermon by Mr. 
Harvey, and in the afternoon a native service, Mr. 
Richards preaching in Congo and Mr. James Clark 
in Bobangi, and finally a united communion 
service. 

" All except our own people left on Monday. 
We had to stay for our local committee." 

" February 19th, I was very disappointed with 
the Baptist Times article about Dr. Bentley. 
There is no proper account of the funeral. In the 



268 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

editorial note it says, and Charles Williams 
repeats it, that he had finished translating the 
Bible. That is not correct, and we are all so 
grieved about it. Arrangements are now being 
made for its completion. Then, to crown all the 
blunders, C. Williams in writing about the com 
mencement of the Mission speaks of the four 
noble men, Grenfell, Bentley, Comber and Crudg- 
ington ! leaving out John altogether. I think it 
is too bad in the official organ. I hoped that 
Harry Crudgington might see the latter error 
and correct it. I wonder if you noticed it. Of 
course it does not matter really, for the Master 
knows all the faithful workers, but still the 
younger generation ought to know the names 
of those who lived and died for Christ and Congo. 
We are indeed thankful for Dr. Bentley s life 
and work. His place cannot be filled. Although 
we disagreed with some of his plans we were 
always pleased to see him and to talk with him ; 
and we are so glad that we had that week with 
him, two years ago, when he was ill. Poor Mrs. 
Bentley and the children : they must feel his loss 
sadly. Mrs. Bentley s whole life will be changed. 
Their photograph came out as a New Year s 
card, and it seemed like a farewell from our old 
friend and colleague. He looked so young in it." 
"July 8th. (To Mrs. J. Jenkyn Brown). We 
hope to leave for home in January, as we feel it 
would not be wise to attempt to stay another 
bad season here. So we do hope a new man for 
Mabaya will hurry up. We had purposed to stay 
another year, but that is out of the question now. 
We enjoyed the Grahams visit very much, though 



1906] LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 269 

so short, and while they were here we had our 
first baptism not a Zombo, that joy is yet to 
come ; but a girl who has been with me four 
years, and has been the greatest comfort to us 
all for the last two. We went down singing to 
the beautiful little river at the bottom of the 
Mission grounds, a good many Zombos coming 
too, to see what we were about. Tom and Mr. 
P. had " throats " so Mr. Graham conducted the 
service and then Tom baptized. Afterwards we 
went into our chapel and sat down to the Lord s 
Table, together with a few Christians from San 
Salvador. While they were here Mrs. Graham 
went with me to my women s meetings in two 
towns just a little way off. She was so amused 
with the women here ; she had never seen such a 
wild lot." 

"August 3rd. We are both fairly well but 
rather overdone. You will feel as grieved as we 
do to hear of dear Mr. Grenfell s death, and so 
soon after Dr. Bentley s. We were much sur 
prised when we heard he was hopelessly ill, as he 
seemed quite well in January, though very sorrow 
ful and downhearted. All this trouble with the 
State and then Dr. Bentley s death greatly upset 
him. We can ill spare either of them, so it seems 
to us, but God knows best. Mr. Grenfell was a 
really good man and so humble and meek. May 
we have grace to follow him so far as he followed 
Christ ! " 

"August 22nd. Just now we have with us a 
Christian woman from San Salvador Church. She 
is a wife of Noso, the old chief of Mbanza Mputu, 
our old friend. Ditina is an old friend of mine 



270 LIFE AT KIBOKOLO 

too, and has been a Christian for many years. 
She would have been a deacon long ago but that 
she is a co-wife. She is a splendid worker, and we 
thought she might be able to get at those whom 
we cannot reach. She has been here a week 
nearly now, and has been out every day making 
friends and talking to the people. She will be 
here for about three weeks longer. Then in 
October we hope to have Nlekai to go over with 
me the second part of The Pilgrim s Progress, 
which I am translating. I hope he will be able 
to come. " 



CHAPTER XIV 

A MISSION OF MERCY 

IT has long ago been clear to the sympathetic 
reader that Mrs. Lewis was a woman of ex 
ceptional determination and heroic courage. In 
the late spring of 1904 occurred a series of events 
in which, according to the judgment of her friends, 
these qualities were revealed in supreme degree. 
A cry of distress came from San Salvador, which 
her loyal and affectionate heart interpreted as 
imperious, and in one of the wildest rainy seasons, 
when natives would only take the round under 
compulsion, she made the journey of something 
like one hundred miles alone. 

In April, 1902, the Rev. Arthur Mayo joined the 
Mission at Matadi, and a few months later passed 
on to San Salvador, his destined sphere of service. 
In May, 1903, he went down to Matadi to meet 
Miss Sygrave, who had come out from England to 
be his wife. They were married on May 17th, and 
shortly afterwards Mr. Mayo resumed his work in 
San Salvador, happily supported by his wife, who 
had been specially trained as a teacher. At this 
time Mr. and Mrs. Graham and Mr. Phillips were 

also in San Salvador, but the Grahams left for 

an 



272 A MISSION OF MERCY 

England in September, and Mr. Phillips for 
Matadi before Christmas. Meanwhile Mr. and 
Mrs. Wooding had arrived, and the two mis 
sionaries and their wives maintained the service 
of the station with no more than the usual vicis 
situdes until, in March, 1904, Mr. Wooding was 
stricken down by serious fever. The case was 
obstinate and assumed a very grave aspect. It 
happened that the Portuguese Resident was ill at 
the same time, so a messenger was despatched to 
Matadi requesting advice from the doctor there. 

A few days later news arrived that the mes 
senger had been killed by an elephant, and under 
this final blow Mr. Mayo, overstrained by work 
and anxiety for his colleague, staggered and went 
down. When the fatal message was delivered he 
said, "I am ill, too," and went to bed. So the 
two wives were occupied in nursing their sick 
husbands, for Mr. Wooding s obstinate fever still 
burned. For fourteen nights Mrs. Mayo sat up 
with her husband. Happily Nlekai and Vita were 
on the spot and rendered good service, Nlekai s 
ministry being notably gentle, skilled, and welcome. 
As Mr. Mayo s case grew graver, Mr. Wooding, 
still in fever, dragged himself from his bed to 
render assistance to his colleague, whose case was 
heavier than his own. The trouble deepened. 
Mr. Mayo s temperature rose to 106 0i 8, and he fell 
into delirium. It was obvious that unless relief 
came there would be general collapse ; and in the 
extremity, not without compunction, for it was 
one of the worst and deadliest of Congo seasons, 
Mr. Wooding wrote to Kibokolo begging Mr. and 
Mrs. Lewis to come over and help. 



A MISSION OF MERCY 273 

Now at this time Mr. and Mrs. Bowskill were 
staying at Kibokolo, and Mrs. Bowskill was in 
delicate health. It was at once felt impossible 
that she and her husband, new to the place and 
people, should be left alone in that wild region. 
Therefore Mr. or Mrs. Lewis must needs go alone. 
Of course Mr. Lewis wished to go ; but his wife 
said, "No, this is a woman s business. Whatever 
happens to poor Mr. Mayo, Mrs. Mayo will be at 
the end of her tether. She will want a woman s 
comfort and a woman s nursing. I must go." 
And when Mrs. Lewis said "I must," her friends 
knew that they were confronted by finality, and 
she had her way. 

Her little caravan was hurriedly loaded, and on 
Sunday afternoon, just twenty-four hours after 
receiving the summons, she started on her venture 
some journey. Mr. Lewis accompanied her some 
few miles on her way; and the parting would 
not be without emotion, as during the seventeen 
years of her Congo life she had never been 
separated from her husband for more than the 
briefest period of time. 

By one of those mischances which every bio 
grapher has to deplore, the letter in which she wrote 
a more or less detailed account of her journey has 
been lost, and I can only supply the brief records 
of her diary. In following these the reader will 
remember that it was the season of heavy rains 
and wild tempests ; rivers were in flood ; rank 
grass from twelve to twenty feet high overhung 
and obstructed the track in many parts ; the track 
stretched to a hundred miles, and in covering it 
this frail Englishwoman, worn with many years 

Englishwoman in Africa 1 ( J 



274 A MISSION OF MERCY 

of strenuous African life, but for her rough, dis 
pirited, apprehensive native carriers, was alone. 

"Saturday, April 16th. Just at half -past one, as 
we were ready for dinner, two men arrived from 
Congo (San Salvador) with letter from Mr. Wood 
ing begging for help. Mr. Mayo very ill and all 
knocked up. Decided that I should go. Very 
busy all afternoon packing." 

" Sunday, 17th. Breakfast very late. All 
morning arranging things for road, and for those 
left behind. Started at 1.45. Tom came to Nzinda. 
Road very bad in parts ; slippery and grass trying. 
Arrived at Mbawa at 5 p.m. After chop and 
prayers, and writing a few lines to Tom and 
Bessie, went to bed early." 

" Monday, 18th. Wanted sleep so badly last 
night but was kept awake by a wretched biti (a 
native musical instrument) till very late. Rain 
all night ; storm early this morning ; rain continu 
ing till 10.30. Headache ; took phenacetin ; read 
Weir of Hermeston a little. This afternoon sent 
forward to prospect, but Lupunde (river) impass 
able, so had to stay the whole day. Awfully 
tedious. A funeral here. Wrote a little to Tom. 
After prayers early to bed." 

" Tuesday, 19th. Started at 6.50 ; very bad road ; 
did not get to Nkamba till 11.50. Started again 
at 1.40. Made very quick march to Tadi, arriving 
at 3.57. Wrote to Tom. At Nkamba, mail-man 
overtook us. Letters from Tom ; all well." 

" Wednesday, 20th. Got to Nkanka to lunch 
Fwese to sleep, arriving at about 3.35. All very 
wet when we got in. Had to change, &c. No 
harm, but awkward for to-morrow." 



A MISSION OF MERCY 275 

"Thursday, 21st. First dried all things. Started 
at 10.30. Did not reach Nkwimba (Zeka Town) 
till 2.45. Hesitated about going on, but big storm 
of rain compelled us to stay. Wrote up diary and 
letters to Tom. Cannot get a fowl." 

" Friday, 22nd. Started at 8.5. Found no town 
at Zamba, so chopped by stream and went on. 
Caught in big storm ; arrived at Mwinga 6.45, 
awfully tired. Found Vita with some clothes, and 
chop, and note from Woodings. Got into bed, 
after chop, as soon as possible." 

Saturday, 23rd. Started at 7.40. Chopped at 
Kintina. Weather very bad. Had to wade Luanza 
[river}. Arrived at San Salvador about 5 p.m. 
Very kind welcome. Mrs. Mayo keeping up well. 
Wrote to Tom. Up very late talking." 



On the day before her arrival, Mrs. Lewis had 
learned from Vita at Mwinga that she was too 
late to aid in nursing Mr. Mayo. He had passed 
away on Wednesday, the 20th, when she was but 
half-way on her journey of mercy. Of course 
she was much exhausted when she reached San 
Salvador, though perhaps her exhaustion was most 
intense on the Friday, when she confesses herself 
to be "awfully tired." The much-abused word 
" awfully " is perhaps used legitimately in this 
case, for she admitted afterwards to Mrs. Graham 
that there were moments in that day during which 
she thought she would die before she got through. 
Her carriers too were so utterly spent that they 
sank down on the verandah of Mr. Wooding s 
house and remained for hours without moving. 



276 A MISSION OF MERCY 

For some days Mrs. Mayo kept up, despite 
the terrific strain to which she had been subjected, 
and Mrs. Lewis was free to throw herself into 
the work of the Mission, which she did with 
keenest interest. Difficult palavers taxed her 
patience and her wisdom. Inquirers were seen, 
medicine given out, and on the Sunday, eight 
days after her arrival, the diary records : 

" I took the women s meeting ; a crowd ; and 
they all seemed pleased to see me." 

Mrs. Mayo (now Mrs. Kirkland) to whom I 
am indebted for many of the facts embodied in 
the remainder of this chapter, and for some al 
ready recorded informs me that this women s 
meeting was quite a memorable gathering. The 
demonstrations of respect and affection on the 
part of the audience were most touching. These 
black women clung about their friend and former 
teacher, and received her words with enthusiasm 
and with meekness. And the meekness was as 
great a tribute as the enthusiasm. For Mrs. Lewis 
had heard that some of them were not " walking 
worthily," and though she spoke the truth to 
them in love, she spoke the truth unsparingly, 
giving them a sound and wholesome lecture. On 
the same day the thing foreseen happened, and 
Mrs. Mayo went down with fever. For several 
days Mrs. Lewis was occupied in nursing her 
friend. Then Mrs. Wooding became ill and there 
was more nursing. 

It was early apparent to Mrs. Lewis that Mrs. 
Mayo ought to start for England without delay, 
and, as other escort was not available, she deter 
mined herself to take her to Matadi. The caravan 



A MISSION OF MERCY 277 

was loaded, and on Monday, May 16th, the two 
ladies started for the coast. On the second day 
out they met Diamanama with mails, who said 
that the Lunda river, which lay immediately 
before them, was impassable for carriers. 

That evening their plight was pitiable. Lodged 
in a hut just big enough to accommodate their 
two camp-beds, Mrs. Mayo weak from fever, 
Mrs. Lewis aware that her turn was coming, 
heavy rain blown into their miserable shelter by 
a wild wind, a flooded river awaiting them on 
the morrow, too dispirited for conversation, they 
sat down each on her camp-bed, and " had a good 
long cry." Though the pity of God, Who knoweth 
our frame, was not withheld from them, the sky 
gave no hint of it ; for with the night came a 
fierce tropical thunderstorm. When at last they 
got to sleep they were attacked by driver ants, 
and had to make a hasty midnight flitting. An 
other poor shelter was procured, and in the 
morning they went down to see the Lunda. In 
truth they did not see it. The river had over 
flowed its banks, and before they had got through 
the long grass, to its normal margin, they were 
in deepening water. A colloquy with the head- 
carrier ensued. Mrs. Lewis stoutly said, " We 
will go across." The laconic and conclusive an 
swer was : " But your boxes will not." Human 
will is a mystic and incalculable force, and often 
achieves miracles ; but when its immediate organ 
is the frail body of an exhausted woman, it can 
not lift the dead weight of a passively resistant 
caravan. There was but one thing to be done. 
They retraced their steps to San Salvador. 



278 A MISSION OF MERCY 

I give the record of Mrs. Lewis s diary for several 
days : 

" Thursday, May 19th. Arrived back at San Sal 
vador this evening awfully tired. 

" Friday, 20th. Feeling very queer. 

" Saturday, 21st. In bed with fever, bad. 

" Sunday, 22nd. In bed with fever, rather bad. 
Bessie (Mrs. Mayo) is nursing me. 

" Monday, 23rd. Sat up to-day. Normal all day. 

" Tuesday, 24th. Loaded and arranged caravan 
this morning. Feeling a bit queer, but much 
better. 

" Wednesday, 25th. Started, went to Kintina." 

A few words of comment upon these entries are 
perhaps called for. The reader will wonder why 
Mrs. Lewis, just up from fever, made so much 
haste to depart upon the long, trying journey to 
Kibokolo. The cause of her haste was her con 
cern for Mrs. Mayo. She felt that her young 
friend must not be allowed to remain a day longer 
than was absolutely necessary amid the scenes of 
her recent suffering and sorrow. Her nerves were 
perilously overstrained ; she could not sleep, and 
Mrs. Lewis judged that the journey to Kibokolo, 
with its inevitable hardships, would be far prefer 
able to a prolonged stay in San Salvador. In her 
own home, too, she would be naturally able to give, 
with fuller freedom and competency, the careful, 
sympathetic treatment which the case required. 
So on the day after her recovery from fever, and 
while still "feeling a bit queer," Mrs. Lewis 
" loaded and arranged the caravan." And these 
words are to be taken literally. It was a man s 
job, but masculine help being unavailable at the 



A MISSION OF MERCY 279 

moment, in her determination to get away quickly 
Mrs. Lewis did it herself. 

From Wednesday, May 25th, to Tuesday, 31st, 
the diary is blank. The journey yielded no inci 
dents of special moment. The usual discomforts 
were endured, aggravated by the inexperience of 
the hammock bearers. On May 31st occurs this 
entry : 

" Met Tom on the Nyanza. All came in together 
this afternoon. Chopped at Bowskills." 

Mr. Lewis was returning from a vain journey to 
Tumba. When Mrs. Lewis was starting from San 
Salvador to escort Mrs. Mayo to the coast, she 
wrote to her husband, informing him of her pro 
ject, saying also that in returning she purposed to 
take the train from Matadi to Tumba, and asking 
him to meet her there and accompany her home. 
Turned back from the flooded Lunda, she wrote 
again, hoping to be able to prevent his setting 
out. The second message arrived too late. 

The question naturally arises : If Mrs. Lewis 
could not consent to her husband s leaving Kibo- 
kolo to accompany her to San Salvador, how was 
it she felt able to ask him to meet her at Tumba ? 
One can only surmise either that less anxious con 
ditions at home made his short absence feasible, or 
that she foresaw that her own probable exhaustion 
would make his escort necessary, even at some 
risk. 

A fortnight later Mr. John Pinnock arrived at 
Kibokolo, and took Mrs. Mayo to the coast, whence 
she sailed for England. At home her health and 
vigour were happily restored. Later, she was 
married to Mr. Kirkland, with whom she has 



280 A MISSION OF MERCY 

since rendered excellent service to the Mission 
in the Congo region. 

It goes without saying that the woman who did 
and dared so much for her in time of trouble, is 
remembered by Mrs. Kirkland with intense and 
reverent affection. But it is important to add 
that she regards her lamented and devoted 
friend as an ideal missionary, whose wisdom and 
efficiency were as great as her affectionate devo 
tion. Moreover, Mrs. Kirkland likes to think that 
she is not the only woman missionary on the 
Congo who endeavours to prosecute her work 
according to the plans and methods of one 
whose life was a model and whose memory is 
an inspiration. 



CHAPTER XV 

LAST FURLOUGH 

IN the middle of September, 1906, Mr. and Mrs. 
Lewis were busy at Kibokolo making plans 
for future work, and entertaining no thought of 
immediate return to England. Mr. Lewis had been 
ill, but was well again, and was on the point of 
starting for a local journey. Mrs. Lewis was 
expecting the arrival of Nlekai, to aid her in 
finishing and correcting a translation of the 
second part of "The Pilgrim s Progress." Yet, 
on November 9th, they were in the English Chan 
nel, aboard the ss. Bruxellesville, and Mr. Lewis 
wrote as follows to Mr. Wilson : 

" You will be surprised to hear that Mrs. Lewis 
and I are nearing England. When the last Ant 
werp mails left Congo we had no intention of 
returning so soon. Our letters had scarcely been 
posted when I went down with bilious fever, the 
second attack within a month ; and as I have been 
suffering from repeated attacks since January, we 
decided to leave at once. We were able to take 
this step when Mr. Hooper returned to Zombo 
from Mabaya, without seriously crippling the 
work at Kibokolo. He arrived ten days before 

981 



282 LAST FURLOUGH 

we left. At Matadi I saw Dr. Sims, who said that 
I had been suffering from continued fever for 
some time, and, to my astonishment, that I was 
in fever at the time of his examination. I think 
I am getting rid of it. Indeed, after a week at 
sea I felt comparatively well, and am now myself 
again. My wife is much run down and tired. We 
hope to reach Southampton to-morrow (Saturday) 
morning, and to proceed at once to London. We 
shall call to see you on Monday morning." 

This call was duly made, and later in the same 
week there ensued the necessary interview with 
Dr. Habershon, the physician of the B.M.S. 
Dr. Habershon reported that the illness which 
had sent Mr. Lewis home was "subsiding," but 
felt moved by his study of both their cases to 
make representations to the Committee concern 
ing the advisability of shortening the term of 
residence on the Congo between furloughs. 

Late in December Mrs. Lewis was called upon 
to endure a great sorrow. Childless herself, her 
sister s children had ever been dear to her, and 
became dearer as the years passed, and intercourse 
and mutual kindness strengthened the ties of 
nature and of spiritual affinity. Moreover, one of 
them, Eva, was called to the discipline of pain, 
lingering, long drawn out. 

Not more than a year or two after that radiant 
holiday at Penrnaemawr, referred to in a previous 
chapter, Eva Percival, a beautiful and winsome 
girl, suffered from the first slight assaults of a 
mysterious nervous malady which defied the treat 
ment and even baffled the diagnosis of the best 
physicians of the day. For ten years, with fluctua- 



1906] LAST FURLOUGH 283 

tions and intervals of hopeful improvement, her 
trouble grew upon her, until at last, after much 
anguish, endured with the patience and the sweet 
ness of a saint, it quenched her life. 

When Mr. and Mrs. Lewis arrived in this country 
Eva s case was grave, and her aunt was con 
tinually with her. Shortly before Christmas, Mr. 
Lewis was sent to Edinburgh to make close personal 
inquiry concerning the critical illness of the Rev. 
George Cameron, and to convey the sympathy of 
the Committee. It was felt that his presence and 
the loving messages which he bore might be 
elements of help to one who lay in extreme weak 
ness. But while Mr. Lewis was in Edinburgh there 
occurred a sudden change for the worse in the case 
of his niece, Eva, scarcely less dear to him than to 
his wife. He was called back to London by tele 
gram, and she died the next day. 

In the presence of such facts the mystery of 
pain is so exigent that it compels us to assume a 
simple solution. The spiritual force expended, and 
the spiritual peace acquired, in the brave endur 
ance of such affliction must have their mission and 
their future. God is not a prodigal Father Who 
wastes His substance in random ordinances ; and 
what is there, in all the sum of His known belong 
ings, more precious than such a soul as that of 
Eva Percival? 

Despite the consolations of the Evangel, the 
natural grief of her mother and her sisters was 
very great, shared to the full by Mr. and Mrs. 
Lewis, whose presence and sympathy yielded the 
best earthly comfort. And there were those, them 
selves among the number, who felt that it was a 



284 LAST FURLOUGH 

kindly dispensation of Providence which had 
brought them home for such a time as this. 

Shortly after the commencement of the new 
year, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were able to undertake 
deputation work, and early in March, while away 
from London on this business, Mr. Lewis received a 
momentous letter from the Secretary of the B.M.S., 
the Rev. C. E. Wilson, conveying the request of 
the Committee that he would accept the appoint 
ment of B.M.S. tutor, at the projected United 
Training Institute, on the Lower Congo, with the 
understanding that Mrs. Lewis would take the 
educational and general oversight of the women, 
wives of the students, who would reside with their 
husbands at the Institute during term time. Con 
fessedly reluctant to abandon pioneering and 
forward work, for which he had striven specially 
to qualify himself, Mr. Lewis was so impressed by 
the importance of the new scheme that he could 
not decline the invitation. Meanwhile he asked for 
time, that he might consult his colleagues on the 
Congo ; for gratifying as was the confidence of the 
Committee, he could not regard the proposed 
position as tenable, unless the brethren on the field 
approved. 

As the story of the remainder of Mrs. Lewis s 
missionary life is so largely the story of the 
Kimpese Institute, it is highly desirable that the 
reader should have good understanding of its 
character and its aims. I cannot better ensure 
this than by quoting at length from an article 
subsequently written for the Missionary Herald 
by Mr. Lewis. At the time of writing he and 
Mrs. Lewis had accepted the proposals of the 



1907] LAST FURLOUGH 285 

Committee, which had received the most cordial 
endorsement of the missionaries concerned. It 
may also be stated here that the Swedish Mis 
sionary Society, which had been party to the 
original scheme, stood aloof in the end, thus for 
the time being lessening the scope of the 
Institution. 

" The very gratifying result which has attended 
our work on the Congo, and the rapid growth 
of the native Christian Church during the past 
few years, have brought the various missionary 
societies face to face with the problem of the 
better education of a native ministry. So urgent 
has this question become that for several years 
past it has occupied a prominent position in the 
joint Conferences of all the Protestant bodies 
labouring in that country. 

"Fifteen months ago representatives of the 
American and British Baptist Missions met at 
Matadi to consider the possibility and advis 
ability of establishing a United College for the 
training of native preachers, evangelists, and 
teachers, in connection with the Missions which 
work within the Congo-speaking area. There 
were some difficulties arising out of differences 
of dialects in use in the various Missions, but on 
talking over these matters we found that most, 
if not all, of these could be surmounted, and the 
feeling of the brethren was wholly and strongly 
in favour of a joint institution for the three prin 
cipal societies working on the Lower Congo and 
in Portuguese Congo. Negotiations were entered 
into with the Swedish Missionary Society, who 
were also desirous of joining. This Society, as 



286 LAST FURLOUGH 

well as the Americans, have training schools 
already in connection with their own work ; but 
all consider that a well-equipped United College 
would be an immense advantage to the cause of 
Christ in Congoland. Not only can the training 
be better and more economically done, but a com 
bined effort of all the Missions will have the 
supreme merit of uniting in Christian activity 
all the native Churches in connection with the 
different societies. It is confidently hoped that 
this bringing together of our future native 
teachers and leaders will be a source of true 
strength to the Churches in the land, and unite 
them all in aggressive evangelistic work. 

" The negotiations are now sufficiently advanced 
to issue an appeal to the readers of the Missionary 
Herald for their help and sympathy in this great 
undertaking. All the friends of our Congo Mis 
sion will join us in thanking God that the time 
has now come for this advance, and already I am 
glad to find great interest is being exhibited by 
friends all over the country in this new college 
scheme. 

"The location of the Institute will be at 
Kimpese, a point close to the Congo Railway, at 
a distance of about eighty miles from Matadi. 
Our American brethren in the early days secured 
a plot of ground of about thirty acres, with the 
intention of establishing a Mission Station at that 
place, but it was not occupied. This property is 
now to be transferred to the United College 
authority. 

" The Constitution provides that in accord with 
the commonly understood position of evangelical 



1907] LAST FURLOUGH 287 

Churches, and also in accord with the ordinance 
of immersion on a profession of faith, the 
instruction given in the Institution shall be based 
upon the acceptance of the Old and New Testa 
ment Scriptures as an authoritative standard of 
faith and practice. The importance of strict 
regard for Scriptural teaching in the observance 
of the ordinances of the Church shall be fully 
recognised. 

" The Institution is to be controlled by a Board 
of Trustees representing the three Missions. 

" Three tutors have been appointed, one from 
each Society, to form the faculty of the College. 
This number is considered sufficient for the 
present, but as the work develops we shall 
require more assistance. 

" It is estimated that we shall have in residence 
about 150 students, who will be brought in from 
various missions for a three years course of 
training. Provision is also made for the training 
of young women who are, or will become, the 
wives of teachers, it being of the utmost im 
portance to have trained women teachers for 
work among their Congo sisters. 

"For the first few years the married teachers 
who are now in service at sub-stations will come 
in for special training. Arrangements will be 
made for them to live in native-built houses in 
the College grounds husband and wife together. 
Later on, when the married people have received 
their course of training, we hope to open a special 
branch for young women who will be likely to 
become wives of teachers and evangelists. 

"In this educational work we attach great 



288 LAST FURLOUGH 

importance to the principle of a native ministry, 
and we shall avoid anything in the shape of an 
imitation white man. Thus the life, housing, 
clothing, and feeding will be in accord with native 
ideas, only insisting on cleanliness, decency, and 
industry. 

" The chief aim of the Institution will be to 
secure enlightened and intelligent teachers and 
evangelists, and to train them for evangelical 
work among their own people. 

" The students will be required to do a certain 
amount of plantation and garden work to secure 
a supply of food for themselves. There will also 
be carpenters and blacksmiths shops, and a brick- 
making department, so that they will be able, in 
their sphere of labour, to build their own houses 
and schools and chapels without monetary help 
from the native Churches which employ them, and 
be in a position to elevate the people by teaching 
them these crafts. 

" In addition to the cost of buildings, which it is 
hoped will be provided for out of the Arthington 
Fund, we shall require furniture, fittings, and 
accessories for the halls and classrooms, and also 
tools for our various industrial workshops. 

" The support of students must be provided for, 
and it is estimated that 8 per year will keep a 
single student at the College, while 14 will 
support a student and his wife for the same 
period. I feel sure that many friends will count 
it a privilege to contribute such a sum yearly for 
the training of these young men and women for 
the native ministry of the gospel in Congoland. 

" I may say that at the request of my brethren 



1907] LAST FURLOUGH 289 

in the field I have consented to become the B.M.S. 
tutor in this new college, and I have also just been 
appointed Principal. And as first Principal of this 
United Training Institute, I most earnestly and 
confidently appeal to all friends of the Congo 
Mission for their kind co-operation and liberal 
help." 

On March 20th Mrs. Lewis wrote to Mrs. Pin- 
nock of Kibokolo : " Before now you will have 
heard about the Training Institute and the prob 
ability that we shall not return to Kibokolo. I 
know you will be sorry, and so shall we ; but the 
Committee are so anxious that we shall undertake 
this work, as also are the San Salvador folk, that 
we do not see our way to decline. Iri God s work 
we must do what is best for the work itself and 
not consider our own personal wishes, so if all 
goes well I suppose we shall go to Kimpese. It is 
a big undertaking at our time of life, but I know 
we shall have the prayers of you all for our 
guidance in all matters. I am sorry not to have 
the joy of gathering in when the harvest begins at 
Kibokolo, but none the less we shall take an inter 
est in your work there and rejoice with you when 
that time comes. . . . To-night we go to chapel to 
attend our Sunday School Anniversary Tea Meet 
ing. We had a lovely time on Sunday. Several 
hundred young folk occupied the galleries, all 
wearing daffodils and singing like larks. It was 
grand. I thought they would never finish. Dr. 
Clifford preached in the evening, and it was a rare 
treat to hear him." 

" March 20th. (To Mrs. Hooper, of Kibokolo.) 
I have written all news to Mrs. Pinnock and have 

Englishwoman in Africa 20 



290 LAST FURLOUGH 

asked her to let you read it, so please ask for it. I 
am very anxious to have news of your husband s 
health. No one mentions him, so I presume he is 
much better. It is not good for man to be alone, 
you see, and I shouldn t be surprised if your com 
pany and care do wonders. I do trust you will 
both keep well, and have much blessing on your 
work. 

" Please pet Sandy for me. I have a dear puss 
here, but don t forget old Sandy. I am afraid it 
will be a long time before I shall be able to have 
him again, if ever. I don t know how we shall be 
situated in this new station. I am sorry that we 
shall not work together again, and especially that 
I shall not have the joy of seeing some of those 
Zombo women and girls come to Christ. But I 
shall think of and pray for them, and I hope you 
may have the great joy of reaping a rich harvest 
from the seed sown through so many years of 
barrenness and discouragement. 

" I hope you will write as often and as fully as 
you can, for I shall be very anxious to know how 
things go on. This work to which we are going is 
so important that we shall need all the help we 
can get, and trust we may have the prayers of all 
our brethren and sisters on the field, so that every 
thing may be started on the right basis. I hear 
that Mr. Weeks has arrived safely, for which we 
are thankful. The spring flowers are out now : 
oh ! they are so lovely. Though as yet there are 
not many English ones to be had : plenty of snow 
drops in the country and crocuses in the gardens." 

"May 7th. (To Mrs. Kirkland, of Mabaya.) 
That opposition of the old chief is natural, but I 



1907] LAST FURLOUGH 291 

should think, from what Mr. Graham writes me 
with regard to the action of the San Salvador 
Resident, that it will turn out rather for the fur 
therance of the gospel. Opposition is far better 
than indifference. In the old days at San Salvador 
it was just at the time when the King so fiercely 
opposed his people coming to our services that the 
work began to develop and,the nucleus of a Church 
was formed." 

" June 5th. (To Mrs. Hooper, of Kibokolo). I 
am sorry I did not write last mail, I was visiting 
friends and could not. This must be only a few 
lines as we are very busy. We leave London on 
Monday, 10th, and give up these lodgings until Sep 
tember or October. I have not seen your folks 
yet. I wrote the other day to say that we shall be 
going to Wales in September and hope to call 
on them if convenient. 

"And now I want to tell you how greatly 
we rejoice with you in the baptism of Mayungululu. 
I am sure it will be a very great joy and encour 
agement to you both to feel that you have been 
the means of bringing the first Zombo convert to 
the Saviour s feet. May that joy be greatly multi 
plied to you all ! You may be sure that in all your 
successes we shall rejoice with you, and shall ever 
pray that you may be guided and helped in all 
difficulties." 

June brought holidays, and holiday spirits, and 
I would that space permitted me to quote at 
length Mrs. Lewis s letters and postcards. She 
is over fifty years old ; she has done more than 
thirty years of strenuous work at home and 
abroad ; yet she writes with the enthusiasm and 



292 LAST FURLOUGH 

abandon of a girl of eighteen, just loosed from 
a convent school. The beauty of the Rhine 
scenery intoxicates her. With her husband s 
assistance she calculates how many Camden Road 
Chapels could be housed comfortably in the nave 
of Cologne Cathedral. She boasts of sleeping in 
a gorgeous chamber, one time occupied by the 
Queen of Holland, and chuckles over the depri 
vations of a young Anglican priest, who was 
evidently pining for splendid ritual, but having 
to officiate in a crude little church, must needs be 
content with " plain morning prayers and a 
sermon," which none the less she enjoyed ex 
ceedingly. From Stockholm she sends a message 
to "Prince," Mrs. Percival s dog, saying that she 
has seen some distant relatives of his, lovely little 
Esquimaux, and is sorry that she cannot send him 
photographs of them also. 

This missive was dated June 25th. In July the 
postmarks are British once more, and on the 3rd 
she is in Peebles, N.B., enjoying gracious hos 
pitality and the delights of long, luxurious drives 
among the hills. Ten days later her address is 
Maelgwyn, Pwllheli, where, amid familiar scenes, 
she is awaiting expectantly the mild discipline 
of an imminent " Chatauqua," meanwhile taking 
delight in many simple things, including the happy 
freedom of her neighbours "the dear donkeys 
who roam at will across the common, and salute 
me from time to time with their melodious voices." 

Late in August she is in Deal, staying with her 
friends the Parkinsons, and is one of a merry 
party, mostly young folk. Among other diver 
sions they all get weighed and measured, and Mrs. 



1907] LAST FURLOUGH 293 

Lewis pokes fun at her husband s proportions and 
makes boast of her own. She weighed 8 st. 9 Ibs. 
10 oz. and measured 5 ft. 2| in. She might well 
boast, for I recall a Congo entry in her diary, in 
which her recorded weight is less by a good 20 Ibs. 

Early in September she is staying with her 
cousin, Mrs. Welch, at the Vicarage, Millington, 
in Yorkshire ; casually mentions that she cannot 
be impeded by more than the lightest baggage, 
and is on the point of departure for Swansea. 

In the autumn she and her husband are occupied 
again by the labours and journeyings of deputation 
work. Yet all the while she maintains a volumin 
ous correspondence with her sister colleagues upon 
the Congo, eagerly scanning their news and 
earnestly giving the counsel and information and 
sympathy which are often solicited or required. 

The following letter was written on November 
26th to Mrs. Moon, wife of the tutor appointed by 
the American Society to be the colleague of Mr. 
Lewis at Kimpese. 

" 66, HILLDEOP CRESCENT, HOLLO WAY, LONDON, N. 

" November 26, 1907. 

" DEAR MBS. MOON, I have not the pleasure of 
knowing you personally, that is yet to come, but 
your husband writes that you wish to hear from 
me with regard to the work that lies before us, 
i.e., the training of the women students in the new 
college. As I believe you already know, I have 
always taken a great interest in the teaching and 
training of the Congo women and girls. I believe 
there are great possibilities in them, and that up 
till now they have hardly received the attention 



294 LAST FURLOUGH 

they deserve. This being so I greatly rejoice in 
the prospect of doing something more for them, 
and am very glad to hear that you also are 
interested in this most important work. 

" I suppose at first the women we have to train 
will be mostly wives and mothers, and that fact 
must necessarily influence the character and 
extent of their training. I do not see how we 
can expect those for instance who have babies to 
spend more than a small proportion of their time 
in the classroom. Then I think we shall have 
to arrange somehow for their children to be 
cared for while they are attending classes. Per 
haps those without children might have extra 
teaching. I see no reason if it is thought desir 
able why the brighter ones should not attend 
some of the men s classes or vice versa. Then, too, 
there is the question as to men with heathen 
wives, or wives who are not professing Christians. 
What do you think about them? Are they to 
be left in their towns, or to come in with their 
husbands ? Or is it to be optional ? Of course 
they could not attend all the classes ; should they 
attend any ? 

"Then as to the subjects to be taught, I am 
writing somewhat in the dark, as I only know the 
teachers wives who belong to the San Salvador 
Church. But if I were arranging for them alone 
I should suggest the following : 

1. Old Testament. 4. Training of children. 

2. New Testament. 5. The art of teaching. 

3. The Christian Life. 6. Nursing of the sick. 

" That course, with their farm work as exercise, 
is I fancy as much as we could attempt. Later 



1807] LAST FURLOUGH 295 

on when we have a proper women s department 
with unmarried students, other subjects might 
be added. What do you think of this ? I hope 
you will write and let me have your views freely, 
so that we may be able to arrange plans which 
shall commend themselves to us all. The wives 
of the San Salvador teachers are all Christians, 
able to read, write, and sew, and most, if not all, 
engaged in teaching. How far that is the case 
with others I do not know ; perhaps you can tell 
me. Details as to our various duties must of 
course wait until we can meet and talk over 
matters. It seems to me that there will have 
to be a school conducted by one of us for the 
children of teachers, and for any boys and girls 
employed by us in our houses. This will provide a 
good opportunity for teaching how to teach. 

" These are merely suggestions (which my 
husband agrees with), and I shall look forward 
to hearing from you with regard to them, or any 
others you can make. 

"With kindest regards to you and Mr. Moon, 
" Yours very sincerely, 

" GWEN E. LEWIS." 

The co-operation of Mrs. Moon in the work at 
Kimpese, to which Mrs. Lewis was looking 
forward, was not vouchsafed to her. In the 
order of Providence Mrs. Moon s arrival was 
delayed until Mrs. Lewis s work was almost done, 
and the shadow of death fast approaching. 

In December Mrs. Lewis suffered from a serious 
attack of influenza, and during the spring of 1908 
deputation work was sometimes interrupted, and 



296 LAST FURLOUGH 

fears of delayed return to the Congo occasioned, 
by the illness of Mr. Lewis. Happily these fears 
were dispelled, and in May Mrs. Lewis writes of 
packing, and the hope of starting from Antwerp 
on June llth, with Miss Spencer, who is going 
out to marry Dr. Gamble. 

So the last, and in some respects the happiest, 
of her furloughs came to its end. It began with 
deep sorrow, but it yielded many joys. She was 
happy in her deputation work, happy in her 
holidays, happy in her intermittent life at home, 
and supremely happy in her relations with the 
Church. During these months I saw more of 
her than ever before, and was privileged to 
hold much converse with her and her husband, 
of that trustful order which yields true spiritual 
refreshment. I may be permitted to relate a 
single incident of our intercourse. During one 
of my visits to their home in Hilldrop Crescent 
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis spoke of Grenfell, and of 
the Committee s purpose to issue a biography. 
Drawn out by them, I freely expressed extempo 
raneous judgments as to the possibilities of the 
work and the manner in which it should be 
done. They listened with quiet interest, and in 
due course I went away, to return a few days 
later bringing with me, for their perusal, a letter 
from Mr. Wilson containing the Committee s 
request that I would write Grenfell s Life. Instead 
of sharing my amazement they broke into hearty 
laughter, confessed that they knew all about it, 
and that in our previous conversation they had 
been quizzing me. Their knowledge had come 
to them through attendance at Committee, and 



1908] LAST FURLOUGH 297 

they felt in honour bound not to anticipate the 
official communication. Needless to say, after 
that Grenfell s Life became a bread-and-butter 
topic between us, and I had the privilege of 
submitting certain early chapters for their criti 
cism before they went away. 

They had many missionary visitors, and among 
the most welcome and most frequently entertained 
were Mr. and Mrs. Lawson Forfeitt, whose disap 
pointment at being forbidden to return to Congo, 
on the ground of Mr. Forfeitt s broken health, 
elicited their warmest sympathy. They attended 
as many as possible of the services at Camden 
Road Church, and often took part in its meetings ; 
made many new friends among those who had 
joined the congregation in their absence ; and were 
delightedly received in many homes. As ever, Mrs. 
Lewis won her way to the children s hearts. Two 
little girls of one family were specially drawn to 
her, and she asked them, when they said their 
prayers, to seek God s blessing upon her husband, 
herself, and their work. The little ones gave their 
promise, and kept it. When they were informed 
of her death, they were much grieved and per 
plexed, and at night the younger of them prayed 
on this wise: "Dear God, we are very sorry that 
you have taken Mrs. Lewis to heaven, for we 
wanted her here. And please do not let Mr. 
Lewis be too sad." 

Her last farewell meeting at Camden Road will 
long be remembered by those who were present. 
A few friends in the company had loved her from 
girlhood, and many had loved her and her husband 
for long years. But during her last furlough the 



298 LAST FURLOUGH 

heart of the whole Church had gone out to them 
in notable degree. I mentioned this in the meet 
ing, and in so doing expressed the common con 
sciousness of the audience. It is a tranquil joy to 
those of us who are left, to realise that in all her 
long association with it, the Church was never 
dearer to Mrs. Lewis, and that she was never 
dearer to the Church, than when it said its last 
" goodbye." 



CHAPTER XVI 

SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE 

A SECOND time Mr. and Mrs. Lewis sailed 
from Antwerp amid a storm of music and 
enthusiasm. The storm was not raised for them, 
yet none the less they enjoyed the thrill of it. The 
voyage was propitious, and in the quiet resting 
days their thoughts turned fondly backward to 
the friends they had left behind, as well as eagerly 
forward to the new work they were about to 
undertake. In her first letters Mrs. Lewis gives 
expression to that feeling of deepened affection 
for the Church, to which I have referred, little 
thinking that those who had become more than 
ever dear to her would see her face no more. 

" SS. Bruxellesville, approaching Teiieriffe, June 
17, 1908. (To Miss Taylor.) I shall very very 
often be thinking of you all, especially on Sundays. 
I shall try to keep in with your prayer circle ; for 
somehow this time we are more than ever bound 
up in love and friendship with Camden. Give our 
love, too, to the dear friends at Harrow. 

" We have had a splendid voyage so far, smooth 
and fine. There are three other missionaries on 
board a young couple and a single lady, nice quiet 



300 SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE 

people, Brethren, going to Westcotts* Mission on 
one of the tributaries of the Kasai and we have 
a table together. Thousands of people gathered 
to see us off at Antwerp, as our captain is a 
Belgian the first to attain that dignity. He seems 
a decent man. 

"Matadi, July 8th. We arrived at Banana ten 
days ago and found a letter waiting from Dr. 
Gamble, saying he was down with his first fever 
at Matadi. However, a week yesterday we came 
to Boma, and soon after eleven the next morning 
saw a little boat approaching in which was the 
Doctor. We were indeed glad for Miss Spencer s 
sake. That day we could do nothing but make 
arrangements, as it was a general holiday, flags 
flying, a regatta in the afternoon, and a torchlight 
procession in the evening, which was very pretty. 
On Thursday afternoon, July 2nd, we went ashore 
just Dr. Gamble and the bride, with Tom and me. 
The British Consul accompanied us in a tram 
(steam) to the Governor s house, and the marriage 
took place in the Court of Justice, according to 
Belgian law, with the British Consul as witness. 
Then we walked down to the American Mission, 
where Tom conducted the religious service. Our 
other missionary friends were there from the 
ship, and the American missionary, his wife, and 
another lady. They had prepared a pretty tea, 
with flowers and a sugared cake. It was very 
kind. When we returned to the ship the captain, 
who was waiting to congratulate the bride and 
bridegroom, invited us to his cabin, and we must 
needs have tea and cake again. The next day we 
came here, where Mr. Phillips and Mr. Norman 



1908] SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE 301 

gave us a most hearty welcome, and we had letters 
awaiting us from San Salvador, Kibokolo, and the 
Howells, bidding us welcome back to Congo. We 
have had a pleasant few days together. The Kasai 
friends left on Monday, and we saw the young 
couple off in the train at six this morning. By 
the same train went six nuns bound for San Sal 
vador. I am sorry. 

" The news from most of the stations is good, 
but Mrs. Graham is very unwell, and we have 
written urging her to take the doctor s advice and 
go home as soon as the Bowskills arrive. Mr. 
Graham is not well either, so I do hope they 
will go." 

" Matadi, July 8th. (To Miss Ethel Percival.) On 
Sunday the Commissaire (that is the magistrate in 
charge) and his wife from Boma, paid us a visit. 
They gave Kimpese a very good character. It is 
very pretty, with good water and plenty of fish, 
good food, &c. In that case we shall be better off 
than we expected. I shall be able to write more 
about this next mail. There is no lady on this 
station, so I have been making cakes and pies 
since I arrived, of which the gentlemen have been 
very glad." 

" Kimpese, July 27th. (To Miss Beatrice Percival.) 
This is such a queer place, just a kind of clearing 
in the bush, and we live in a one-roomed grass- 
house. On the opposite hill the Roman Catholics 
have an establishment, and we can see and hear 
the little train as it winds in and out and goes 
puffing up the hill. There is a fine range of hills 
on one side of us, and we shall look out upon them 
from our new home. Uncle is very busy getting 



302 SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE 

the ground and foundations ready, and I am 
endeavouring to teach three bush boys housework 
and cooking, as well as I can under the circum 
stances. I have also started to make a little 
garden with their help this morning, so that we 
can get some mustard and cress, lettuces, &c., 
before we get into our regular house, and Uncle 
makes the proper garden." 

" August 19th. We are both well I am thankful 
to say, but one never seems clean. It is the dry 
season, and the dust and jiggers are dreadful. 
I am afraid this is a very bad place for insects. 
There are no end of flies now and a good many 
mosquitoes. What they will be in the rainy season 
I don t know ! There is so much bush about. A 
good deal has already been cleared, but there is 
much yet to be done. It is so unfortunate that 
Tom has no one to help him responsibly. Of 
course we have a lot of men, but they need con 
stant looking after. My boys are just beginning 
to be of use, and on Sunday two little girls arrived. 
They come from Makuta." 

" September 10th. (To Miss Ethel Percival.) Our 
garden is getting on. Yesterday Uncle and I put 
in peas and beans. The melons and cucumbers are 
coming up, and the flowers, some of them, will 
soon be in blossom. Uncle s carpenter has turned 
up ill, and has had to go away for several days, 
also one bricklayer. It is very trying, as it keeps 
everything back. Mr. Moon arrived on Monday, 
and to-day, Thursday, he has gone off to his old 
station to see about his things. His wife and two 
children are left in America. He has his meals 
with us, and seems a nice quiet man, and very 



1908] SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE 303 

earnest. The weather is getting very much hotter. 
Several days lately it has been 86 or 87 in the 
shade." 

" October 7th. (To Miss Ethel Percival.) It was 
too bad to put you all off last mail with a p.c., 
wasn t it ? But really I could not help it. I was 
so rushed, and in consequence, of course, head 
achy. On the Sunday Uncle was very poorly, and 
I had to take service. He got better, and managed 
to finish a classroom he was putting up with iron 
walls and grass roof. It is divided by a partition, 
and we moved into it on Wednesday. We had just 
got in, thinking to get everything in readiness for 
the visit of the Trustees on Friday, when Mr. 
Moon came back from Matadi, as we expected, and 
with him Mr. Lowrie, from Mabaya, on his way 
home. We were very pleased to see him, but of 
course there had to be a fly round to get him bed, 
chop, &c. Then just in the middle of the stir 
Daniel arrived from Zombo, bringing Sandy I 
He had to be petted and comforted after his long 
journey. Mr. L. went off early the next day, and 
just as I was making some cakes in readiness for 
the day following, in walked Mr. Frame ! Another 
fly round ! Then on Friday there was, of course, 
a big dinner to prepare for night. They all arrived 
by midday train, i.e., about half-past two, Mr. and 
Mrs. Bain, Mr. Phillips, and Dr. Sims. . . . As my 
cook is so new, I had to look after everything 
myself, so that I could not enjoy their company 
as I should have liked to do. Mrs. Bain is a 
Swede, and very pleasant. Dr. Sims is most 
kind. I don t know what we should do with 
out him. ... I can also consult him about the 



304 SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE 

medical work which I have begun here. I was 
forced to it. We have so many workmen with us, 
and lots of other people come as well. I have only 
begun regularly to-day. My garden is doing so 
well, and looks so pretty ; I wish you could see 
it. ... You would love the pretty little chicks 
we have now, such a lot of them. Four broods 
are out, and two other hens and the duck sitting. 
Yesterday men arrived from Kibokolo with sixty 
fowls ; so you see we have plenty of fresh chop, 
and do not need to fall back on tins, as we did at 
first. All food is much dearer than at Kibokolo 
or San Salvador. Uncle is awfully busy, and Mr. 
Moon, with the two houses. The roof of the office 
is just being put up. By the way, a day or two 
after I wrote to Mother, one of our men brought 
us a fine big fish from the river, which we 
enjoyed very much ; but we have not seen any 
since." 

" November 18th. (To Miss Ethel Percival.) It 
is just pouring with rain now, and after the 
frightful heat of the day the rain is quite a relief. 
Our house is going up fast. The office outbuilding 
is nearly finished, and to-day our two roll-top 
desks were unpacked so as to keep them from the 
white ants. The rest of the house has only a 
skeleton yet. It will be delightful when finished. 
I only wish our friends could see us in it. ... The 
garden is not flourishing quite as well as it did ; 
there is too much rain for it, and the insects are 
awful." 

" November 30th. (To Miss Beatrice Percival.) 
Uncle is looking for a snake, a Boa, who came and 
paid us a visit last evening just as we were going 



1908] SETTLEMENT AT KTMPESE 305 

to tea. Two hens were sitting on one nest. One 
was killed, the other they saved and transported to 
a place of safety, with her eggs, but in the night 
the silly thing went back to the place of peril and 
was killed by the snake. It was dark yesterday, 
and while the boys were getting a light the snake 
made off, and they cannot find it. But we know 
it is about, and are afraid it will kill more fowls, 
or the ducks. Did I tell you the duck had a family 
of fourteen ? but there are only ten now. It is 
wonderful they have survived ; but she is a 
splendid mother, and we should be sorry if any 
thing happened to her, poor thing. The snakes 
are plentiful about here. Uncle has just returned, 
but can t find the enemy. December 1st. I am 
just waiting breakfast, 7.25 a.m. This is our 
twenty-second wedding day ; just fancy ! We have 
indeed much to be thankf il for. Here we are 
quite well and very busy both desirable things. 
I believe the ducks and fowls are all right this 
morning, so I suppose the Boa has gone elsewhere. 
The monkeys came the other night and eat up the 
maize which the girls had planted. They say there 
are crowds of them, but I have not seen them yet. 
I have told the boys and girls to let me know next 
time they appear." 

"December 2nd. (To Miss Taylor.) " We are 
still in the classroom, into which we moved from 
our grass-house. Our permanent house is getting 
on, but the workmen are very slow and very 
stupid, and Tom cannot do as much here as in 
Kibokolo, the atmosphere is so different. I am 
thankful to say that for many weeks now we 
have all been quite well. It will be nice when 

Englishwoman in Africa ^1 



306 SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE 

we -get into our new home and really begin the 
work of the Institute. But there is much to be 
done first, of all sorts. 

"We thought of you all very much last week 
at the Sale time. I trust it was a great success. 
I am glad Mr. Parkinson was there. ... I wonder 
where you are going to spend your Christmas. 
We expect to go down to Matadi on the Saturday 
before Christmas Day, remaining until the 
Wednesday. Mr. Phillips is marrying a very nice 
Swedish lady, a widow, and wishes Tom to tie the 
knot. We shall be alone probably on Christmas 
Day, as our American colleague, Mr. Moon, is 
going for a few days to his friends at Mbanza 
Manteka, as soon as we return." 

" December 2nd. Thank you so much for the 
papers. There seem to be stirring times just now 
what with the unemployed and the suffragists. 
The Government strikes me as a bit disappointing. 
Put not your trust in princes nor in statesmen ! 
That was a charming letter to Dr. Clifford from 
the Archbishop ; I am very glad he wrote it. I 
hear they are starting Study Classes at Camden ; 
I am very glad of that too." 

"December 16th. It is pouring with rain and 
is very dark, as I have had to close the windows, 
or rather the shutters, and I have only half of the 
door open to let in some light. Tom is over at 
the new house getting work done inside, as they 
cannot go on with the roof. But part of it is up 
and the office, so he can be there to keep the men 
at work, which they think very hard. These 
people always go to sleep directly there is rain, 
and don t think they ought to work. Seeing that 



1908] SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE 307 

it rains mostly half of every day now they would 
have a pretty easy time of it. Since I wrote last, 
we have both been ill again. We were in bed 
together for two or three days with fever ; Tom 
with his usual gastritis, and I with a very bad 
head. It hindered things for a week. The boys 
and girls were very good. My cook did every 
thing very nicely, and made us soup and arrow 
root, and the biggest girl waited on us, so we got 
through. I was well enough just to say what we 
wanted and tell them how to do it. Mr. Moon 
kept things going on the station, and looked in 
and out. . . . We are expecting to go down to 
morrow to Matadi to Mr. Phillips s wedding. I 
hope we shall get there all right. The river is in 
flood they say, piers covered and trains running 
in water. It is an exceptionally wet season." 

" December 16th. (To Miss Beatrice Percival.) 
You would have enjoyed the sight I had recently. 
At the back of our house at the bottom of a 
steep slope runs a stream, thickly wooded, and 
the other day the girls called me to see the 
monkeys. I had planted a little sweet maize as 
an experiment, and the girls saw a monkey come 
right up to within a few yards. When I went I 
had a fine view of big and little monkeys, regular 
Banderlays, running up and down, in and out, 
among the great tree-branches. Uncle says they 
will have to be killed. But I can t bear the idea. 
They do seem like distant relatives, don t you 
think? Dear old Sandy is as sweet as ever. Mr. 
Moon is going to see to his feeding. He likes 
Sandy, as indeed does every one. I wonder how 
the servant is going on ; I hope she won t scoot 



308 SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE 

after Christinas. It is such a comfort having a 
decent girl who can really do things. That book 
you sent Uncle by an American, Mr. Bradford, I 
like very much. But it does not go far enough. 
He is hardly evangelical, I should say. I like that 
of Rendel Harris immensely. I am reading now 
Mr. Grenfell s Memoir, by Sir H. Johnston. It is 
very interesting, but hardly gives a portrait of 
the man. I expect Mr. Hawker s will do that. 
This is more a series of pictures of the country, 
and the people and missions in general, to which 
the author is most sympathetic. You would like 
to read it, I think. Mr. Parkinson sent it to us." 

" Matadi, December 24th. Your letters were so 
sad this time that I hardly know how to write 
to you, as I do not know in what circumstances 
this letter may find you, but I must write to wish 
you from us both very many happy returns of 
your birthday ; and if this birthday is clouded by 
anxiety and trouble [occasioned by Mr. Hart- 
land s grave illness], may the new year upon 
which you are entering be bright with the sun 
shine of the Master s presence, and even darkest 
days and nights be lightened by His countenance 
and His help. How I wish I could be with you ! 
I am afraid your Christmas is a sad and anxious 
time. We have had a very queer Christmas, or 
rather shall have had when it is over. We came 
down here on Thursday last, this day week. On 
Sunday morning we proceeded to Boma by the 
French steamer. I was in bed with fever all the 
time there. Mr. Phillips was married by the 
Consul on Monday, and on Tuesday we came up 
in the gunboat. I was much better, and was able 



1909] SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE 309 

to attend the wedding here in the afternoon, and 
to help in getting the boys feast yesterday. To 
day we have been talking and arranging all sorts 
of things and packing. To-morrow (25th) we 
expect to go up to Kirapese. I am pretty well, 
though not very strong yet." 

"January 4, 1909. (To Miss Ethel Percival.) 
I have just read your letters over, but I am 
rather in a wigwam as to who sent which 
books. We have dipped into them all, I think, and 
Uncle is much taken with Lloyd George. But 
who sent me The House of the Wolf ? Was it one 
of you? We got part of our mail here and part 
at Matadi : then with the wedding and my fever 
I have got regularly mixed. I was interested 
about your visit to Mrs. Taylor and should have 
loved all the dear animals. But I don t believe 
you like them better than the babies ! Of course 
some of those are not so interesting. As for 
Sandy, I think you might write that book. A 
good idea ! I have no time or brains for it. My 
time seems taken up in all sorts of mundane ways 
cooking, cutting out and machining clothes for 
my ten children, looking after and growing (and 
eating) vegetables, nursing, and so on. Then in 
a few weeks time I shall have three or four 
hours teaching daily. I don t know how all 
is to be squeezed in. Now I must leave off 
and go to the garden with one of my girls. I 
want to transplant some lettuces and sow some 
others. We have had lovely cabbages every day 
for some time ; to-day we had beans again and 
tomatoes galore. Yes, I agree with you that I do 
not like the fowls having to be killed. Still, I 



310 SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE 

think it much better for them than getting ill, 
and the hens and chicks are most interesting, to 
say nothing of the eggs, which are a great blessing. 
The ducks, too, are doing splendidly ; the nine 
ducklings are growing fast. The old drake eats out 
of my hands, and the duck is most friendly, I shan t 
make friends with those which have to be killed. 

" I wish you could see my convolvuli, they are 
so lovely, and the French and African marigolds 
do splendidly. Uncle, too, has a lot of flowers 
coming on. I only wish his health was better." 

" January 28th. (To Miss Taylor.) I know you 
will be sorry to hear that I have had two fevers 
since the one at Boma, and that Tom is only just 
recovering from a nasty fever and gastric attack ; 
so you can imagine things do not go on very fast. 
The students (some of them) arrived last week and 
are busy building their houses ; fortunately Mr. 
Moon is well. He is a very hard-working, earnest 
man. The wives and children are not to come 
until March. I do hope we shall be having better 
health by that time. We expect to be in our house 
in a few weeks now. We should have been there 
long ago but for these illnesses. We had Mr. 
Thomas with us for a week from Wathen. He 
came to sit for his exam, in the language, and has 
come off splendidly. We like him very much. He 
seems the right sort of man. . . . The day after we 
returned from Matadi we made a sort of Christmas 
for the children, and when they were all here 
inspecting their presents, with a lot of the work 
men and other people looking on, I brought out 
Bella. 1 You should have seen them. The girl 
1 See Appendix, Note F. 



1909] SETTLEMENT AT KIMPESE 311 

who was with Mrs. Pinnock rushed at her as an 
old friend, and the others were lost in astonish 
ment. They are all delighted to have her, though 
two of them are rather old for dolls." 

" February 24th. (To Miss Ethel Percival.) We 
are in our new house, or at least part of it, two 
rooms and the office, and are enjoying the boarded 
floors and the advantage of being able to get to the 
kitchen without going out of doors. Of course 
there is one drawback. The house not being 
finished the workmen are busy and the noise is 
awful. Fortunately I do not suffer with my 
head as I used to do, but it rubs up my spine and 
is not conducive to comfort. Still, things are 
getting on, so we are very glad. The house will 
be lovely when finished. I have not attempted to 
beautify yet. That is to come. The men are here 
getting their houses ready. Next week the women 
and children come, and on the 8th we begin the 
real work of the College. Then I shall be very 
busy, as besides what I have to do at present I 
shall have about three hours teaching every day 
except Saturday. I shall be able to tell you more 
about that later on. 

" Concerning the monkeys ! they have mostly gone 
to another part of our grounds, and have not 
troubled us lately. The snakes come after the 
fowls and eggs, and that is a real trouble. We 
are not afraid of them. It is a strange fact (which 
Sir H. Johnston mentions in his book, I see) that 
one rarely hears of accidents from snake-bites 
either to the natives or white people. I don t 
know how it is except that one does not go out 
much at night when the snakes are most abroad." 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE FIRST SESSION AND THE LAST VOYAGE 
1909 

r I iHE United Training Institute, the evolution 
-L of which has been rather indicated than 
described in the previous chapter, was formally 
opened on March 15th. It is almost certain that 
Mrs. Lewis wrote to some of her friends an account 
of this interesting function, which marked at once 
the attainment of a goal and the starting of a new 
race ; or perhaps it would be more fitting to say, 
the beginning of the last lap of a long race, run 
throughout in the spirit of St. Paul. But such 
account has not come to my hand, so I fall back 
upon that written by her husband, and printed in 
the Missionary Herald. 

" When we arrived here in July last we had only 
one small grass-house for our shelter. The ground 
had to be cleared and laid out, dwelling-houses 
and stores as well as lecture-halls had to be erected, 
and before the work of teaching could be com 
menced nineteen two-roomed grass-houses had to 
be built for the accommodation of the students. 
This was a great work, and we are grateful to 
God for the strength given us to enable us to open 

312 



FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 313 

the College for actual teaching within nine months 
of our arrival on the ground. 

" March 15th was a memorable day with us, for 
it was the opening day of the first United Training 
College on the Congo. We had no great personage 
or any strangers to share in our festivities. My 
American colleague, the Rev. S. E. Moon, and Mrs. 
Lewis and myself had the students all to ourselves. 
The proceedings were very simple, and consisted 
only in an inaugural address from the Principal, in 
which he reviewed the work of the two Baptist 
societies on the Congo and the development of the 
native Churches and native workers. The import 
ance of the College work was insisted upon for all 
the teachers and their wives, that they might be 
better equipped for the Master s service in Congo- 
land. Matters of conduct and discipline in the 
school were put before them and explained. 
Answering a question from one of the men, I told 
them that we were not going to make any rules or 
regulations, as we expected them in all things to 
conduct themselves as men of God, always mindful 
of the honour of the school. We started by trust 
ing them, and we hoped there never would be any 
necessity to formulate rules and regulations for 
their personal conduct. At the same time we 
shall at the commencement of each session make it 
clear to all the students what is expected of them. 
" We have now had seven weeks of uninter 
rupted study, and are most pleased with our first 
set of men and women. We have this session 
nineteen men and fourteen women, making the 
total number of students thirty-three. We con 
sider this an excellent beginning, and next October 



314 FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 

we shall receive several fresh ones. There are a 
number of applicants, but at present we cannot 
say how many we can receive. 

"I undertook the work of this United College 
with considerable reluctance and only under pres 
sure from my brethren of the two Missions. It 
has meant a great deal of hardship to Mrs. Lewis 
and myself. At our age rough work and poor 
accommodation in a country like this are very 
trying, but we have been wonderfully preserved 
through it all. For some months we were not in 
good health, but since getting into our new per 
manent house we have been much better. The 
anxiety about the successful issue of the College 
work was also great, and it is no small satisfaction 
to know that not only has the class work been 
started, but that everything has gone on smoothly 
with the students. Indeed, we have succeeded far 
better than I anticipated and are all very happy in 
the work. 

" Much is due to the manner in which brethren 
from other stations have supported us, and I wish 
to record my deep appreciation of the confidence 
they have given me in this undertaking and of 
their brotherly love and sympathy. Moreover, 
the trustees of the Institution have taken the 
deepest interest in all the work, and we greatly 
appreciate the complete confidence they have 
shown the staff." 

Two days after the opening Mrs. Lewis wrote 
to her niece stating that she was very well, not 
withstanding the fact that the temperature 
nearly every afternoon exceeded 100, sometimes 



FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 315 

reaching 103, and this great heat a damp heat 
withal. Mr. Lewis has had another illness, not 
severe, and they are looking forward eagerly for 
the dry season, when life at Kimpese will be 
reasonably pleasant. In reply to congratulations 
upon the coming of many visitors she has to 
admit with regret that the joy of hospitality is 
sometimes a little burdensome, owing to imper 
fect domestic conditions and the press of constant 
work. 

"April 6th. I was glad to find from your 
letters that father [Mr. Hartland] was no worse 
and able to keep warm. . . . We have been 
sweltering here with the heat. I have been 
sitting in school with perspiration literally 
streaming from my face. We have been very 
busy, not only with our classes, which begin 
at 6.30 a.m. and go on all day, but in getting into 
our sitting-room and store. Hitherto we have 
only occupied dining-room and bedrooms. The 
sitting-room is painted with the pretty green 
enamel which Mr. Keep gave us, and when we get 
our pictures up and our curtains hung it will look 
very well. We have mosquito-netting for windows 
and door, so that we may sit there in the evening 
without being bitten all over." 

A tea-service, knocked about for months, has 
been unpacked with only one small plate broken. 
The use of it is a great luxury after the crude 
make-shifts of the building-time ; and significant 
of the bigness of the Congo field is the following 
sentence, "We have met the William Forfeitts 
at last, after working twenty years together on 
the Congo. They were on their way down in 



316 FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 

the train, and as a truck got derailed they were 
detained, and we had nearly two hours of their 
company." 

" May 12th. (A circular letter.) I am sending 
you a few lines with some photos to give you a 
little account of our work here. 

"In one sense it is quite different to any we 
have been engaged in before, for except on Sun 
days all our teaching is for Christians and Chris 
tian workers. They are men and women who 
have a little knowledge in most cases very little 
but who wish to learn more that they may be 
fitted to help and teach their fellow-country- 
people. These students come from different parts 
of the Lower Congo, and have been sent here by 
the missionaries of the two Societies, our own 
and that of the American Baptists. They speak 
in various dialects, but are all able to under 
stand us and one another, as the language is 
really one. 

" In January the men came (nineteen of them), 
and soon a number of little two-roomed grass- 
houses could be seen springing up in the portion 
of ground set apart for them. They are arranged 
in three roads, and look quite a little town. When 
the houses were finished the men went back to 
their towns and in a fortnight returned with their 
wives and children. We have fourteen women 
here at present. Two or three of the men have 
not their wives with them this term, but hope to 
have them next, and one is a bachelor. Then 
there are about twenty-four children, some little 
ones, belonging to students ; others the little 
nurses who take care of the babies while the 



FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 317 

mothers are in their classes. These children and 
our boys in the house have school each afternoon. 
" The days are all very busy, and go too quickly. 
The school bell rings at half -past six in the morn 
ing, when Mr. Lewis has the men to begin the day. 
After breakfast the men s classes, taught by Mr. 
Lewis and Mr. Moon, proceed till noon, in which 
they study many subjects, such as Old and New 
Testament, Geography, Astronomy, Arithmetic, 
and Homiletics ; also French and Portuguese 
languages. 

"The men we have here seem very nice and 
intelligent, and all have been engaged in teaching 
at the various stations of the two Missions. The 
women, two or three of whom are old friends of 
mine, cannot give so much time to school as their 
husbands, as they have their children to look 
after ; but we have three hours every day, one and 
a half hours in the morning, and the same again 
in the afternoon. This kind of teaching is quite 
new to them, but they seem really to enjoy it, and 
it is quite interesting to see how their minds begin 
to open to ideas that have never entered them 
before. Many could not even read when they 
came, and never tried to sew or write. But sew 
ing they take to easily, and they are getting on 
very quickly with their reading. The writing they 
find more difficult, but that will come in time. 
Some can read and write well, and can cut out 
and sew both with hand and machine, but these 
are the women who as girls were on one of the 
Mission stations. We have these subjects in the 
afternoon, when my four girls join us. Also in 
Geography and Arithmetic they are most in- 



318 FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 

terested. On Fridays while they sew I read to 
them from The Holy War, which has been trans 
lated by Mr. Phillips. 

" In the morning we have two classes each day. 
Three mornings weekly we give to the study of 
the Old and New Testament ; on one I am telling 
them how we got the Bible ; and on Fridays we 
have prayer, and a talk about Christian living. 
Beside that they are learning a little about Natural 
History : our bodies, health, &c., and also how dif 
ferent things are made. By all these means we 
are trying to teach them to see God s finger in 
all His wonderful works, and to enlarge their 
thoughts. We finish the week s work as far as 
teaching is concerned by a singing class, which 
I hold on Friday evening. All the men and as 
many of the women as can crowd into our dining- 
room, sing hymns for an hour. That is a hot hour, 
and you might see the perspiration pouring off my 
face as I play the American organ. 

"On Sundays we all meet together teachers, 
students, workmen, and children for our morning 
service, which is conducted alternately by Mr. 
Lewis and Mr. Moon. In the afternoon the 
students have a service, which any one who likes 
can attend, and at the same time I have a class 
of all the girls on the Station. There are only 
eight of them, but with pictures and hymns and 
Bible stories we have a good time. After teaching 
the women all the week I am glad to have the 
children on Sundays. 

"I have not mentioned the industrial classes 
which the men attend in the afternoons, or the 
gardens in which both men and women work. 



FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 319 

Each couple has a piece of land, which they 
cultivate for food, and it is a pleasant sight to 
see husband and wife working together in these 
plantations. 

"To us who can remember the conditions which 
obtained here when we came to Congo twenty-two 
years ago, it is indeed a source of encouragement 
and thankfulness to look at the faces of these 
young men and women, and to see that they are 
the fruit of the toil of the last thirty years. Many 
of the labourers have passed away to their rest, 
but their works do follow them. Just now we are 
at the beginning, and the Institute will grow both 
in the number of students and in their attain 
ments. We are now anxious to lay good and firm 
foundations upon which others may build in the 
days to come." 

" May 21st. There has been great excitement 
here to-day, we have been terribly busy and are 
very tired this evening. The Belgian Colonial 
Minister has come out to Congo, and is going to 
look at things in general. Yesterday he sent up a 
message saying that he was coming here to see us, 
so we had to fly round. We had already heard 
that he purposed staying at the Catholic Mission, 
and Tom had sent a note to say he would like to 
have a share in welcoming him. The head priest, 
who speaks English, wrote a very pleasant reply. 
So we had our road from the station cleaned, the 
Catholics had theirs cleaned, and each Mission 
erected a triumphal arch. Last night Tom and I 
were up quite late finishing a motto : Congo 
Training College welcomes Colonial Minister. Of 
course to-day everything had to be swept and 



320 FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 

garnished, and after dinner Tom and Mr. Moon 
went down to the station followed by all the 
students, workmen, and children, bearing a banner 
with Vive le Ministre ! inscribed. I did not see 
all this as I had to stay at home to receive the 
great man. The priests were there also with their 
contingent. We lent them our rickshaws to con 
vey the Minister (Mons. Renkin) and his wife. 
They went straight to the Catholic Mission, and 
then came on here ; not the lady, for which I 
was sorry, but the Minister and his Secretary, 
the Secretary-General of the Congo State, the 
attendant Doctor, and a priest. They came and 
had a cup of tea first. Of course I got out all my 
pretty things for them ; then they went and saw 
everything. They were especially pleased and evi 
dently impressed by the students quarters, and I 
hope this and other things M. Renkin may see will 
give him a good idea of Protestant missions. He 
seemed quite inclined to be friendly with the 
natives, and we hear that his sympathies are with 
reform, so we trust good may come of his visit. 
Prince Albert has gone through Katanga, and 
M. Renkin is going to meet him and bring him 
down the Congo home. He had seen Mr. Phillips 
and Dr. Sims at Matadi. To-morrow he will 
have a send-off from the station." 

" May 25th. (To Mrs. Gamble, San Salvador.) 
You asked about the lemon grass at San Sal 
vador. We brought it from Matadi, and I suppose 
it came originally from Jamaica, but we do not 
know ; neither do we know its proper name. I 
learned from an article by Winston Churchill hi 
the Strand that it is extensively planted in 



FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 321 

Uganda and keeps off mosquitoes. We have some 
growing here, and if only it would render this 
service it would indeed be a blessing. But I doubt 
if anything will rid us of mosquitoes unless we 
could alter the whole place. We are longing for 
the complete cessation of the rains that we 
may have a few months respite from these 
plagues." 

"June 10th. (To Miss Ethel Percival). Since Mon 
day this is Thursday I have been in bed with a 
nasty liver attack, severe headache, and a little 
temperature. I am better to-day, and we hope to 
go out this evening for a ride in our rickshaws. It 
will do Uncle good, too, to have a blow. My being in 
bed is very worrying for him with all his other 
work, and he has not been at all fit. Happily he 
is better to-day, and we hope that now the dry 
season has really set in we shall keep well. We 
have been much better lately, but the mosquitoes 
here are really dreadful." 

The next day, June llth, Mrs. Lewis wrote to me, 
sending her own and her husband s congratulations 
upon the completion and publication of " The Life 
of George Grenfell." The British Weekly was 
the most prized by her of all the papers which 
came from England, and its Editor was one of her 
oracles. She had received the issue containing 
Claudius dear s appreciative review, and told of 
her joy and pride in reading it, regretting that 
expanse of land and sea prevented her from 
dropping in to say what she felt with her own 
lips. She also wrote in affectionate terms of her 
gladness in the recovery of my little daughter 

Hnglishwonian in Africa 22 



322 FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 

Phyllis, who had lain for weeks in the valley of the 
shadow of death. It was my last letter, and abides 
a cherished possession. 

" June 17th. Next week we expect Mrs. Moon out. 
. . . Mr. and Mrs. Bowskill from San Salvador are 
coming to spend a week, and all the Trustees are 
coming for two nights. This will make a party of 
ten or eleven to provide for. In the middle of July 
the Institute breaks up for two months vacation, 
during which many things will have to be done 
which hitherto have been left undone." 

This meeting of the Trustees was much upon 
Mrs. Lewis s mind from the date of the Colonial 
Minister s visit. The instinct of the hostess was 
strong in her, and she must needs do all within 
her power for the comfort and good entertain 
ment of so large a company of friends. When 
one remembers the exacting and incessant calls of 
every day, following the hardships and long strain 
of previous months, it is a matter of regret that 
this additional stress could not be avoided. Every 
week-end she was completely spent, but resting as 
much as possible on Saturday and Sunday she com 
menced again on Monday, kept the pace and would 
not be restrained. 

On June 30th, she wrote the following report of 
her work to be read at the Trustees meeting held 
the next day : 

"This session has been very encouraging, and 
gives good promise for the future ; the women 
have attended the classes regularly, and shown 
much interest in their work. 

" Of the fourteen women who came into the 



FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 323 

Institute, only five could read, write, or sew. The 
others, with two exceptions, have made good pro 
gress in these subjects, and from among these, two 
have done so well that they should be reading in 
their New Testaments in a few weeks time. 

" It is of the utmost importance that teachers 
wives should be able to read, and I would like to 
suggest that in stations where the men are 
receiving preparatory training some arrangement 
should be made whereby their wives should at 
least be taught to read. 

" Four of the women are so far beyond the 
others that they ought to have been taught 
separately, but that has been impossible, owing 
to my being single-handed. I feel, however, that 
they are all benefiting more or less, and some 
seven or eight bid fair to make useful teachers 
when their term of training is over. 

" One hour and a half in the afternoons has 
been occupied with ordinary school subjects 
reading, writing, arithmetic, elements of geo 
graphy, including the compass and maps of 
Palestine and Congo, and sewing, during which 
I am reading aloud from The Holy War. 

" In the mornings we have had two classes a 
day, in which we have studied the following 
subjects : Old Testament : first fifteen chapters 
Genesis. New Testament : first three chapters 
Luke, and life of John the Baptist. History of 
the Bible till time of Wycliffe. Natural history 
of trees and flowers. Simple hygiene and physi 
ology: cleanliness, prevention of disease, structure 
of the eye. Object-lesson : paper, cloth, slates, 
glass. These last three subjects, which were 



324 FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 

almost entirely new to them, have excited much 
interest, and I trust have been and will still more 
in the future be the means of opening their eyes 
and minds to the wonders of God s universe. 

" On Friday mornings I have given them a series 
of talks on the Christian life, taking as my sub 
jects love, truth, purity, thankfulness, joy, peace, 
temperance, prayer. After which a quarter of 
an hour or twenty minutes have been spent in 
prayer, led by the women themselves ; and it has 
been good to listen as they voiced their thankful 
ness to God for giving them this opportunity of 
learning more of His works and will, and asked 
for more grace and wisdom in the various rela 
tionships of life. 

" In conclusion, I can only express my joy in 
the work, which has been a great pleasure to me 
personally, and my gratitude to God for health 
and strength, so that I have only missed one 
week s teaching during the term. 

" GWEN E. LEWIS. 

"June 30, 1909." 

The much anticipated meeting was duly held, 
and all passed off well. The cares of entertain 
ment were rather lightened than increased for 
Mrs. Lewis by the presence of one of her visitors, 
Mrs. Bowskill from San Salvador, for whom she 
had conceived a warm affection. More than once 
she had written expressing earnest desire that 
her friend might be able to come, and though 
grief-stricken by recent news of the death of her 
father, Mrs. Bowskill came, finding solace in 
sympathy and relief in service. 



FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 325 

All passed off well, but the long tension proved 
to be too severe. The dauntless spirit was finally 
overborne by the now frail and exhausted body. 
A week after the meeting of the Trustees Mrs. 
Lewis collapsed, and in the four following letters, 
which contain all matters of moment, she brings 
her life-story to the verge of conclusion. 

When the fever struck her down she had just 
finished reading "The Life of George Grenfell," 
and when haematuric symptoms appeared she 
quietly remarked to her husband : " Hsematuria 
killed Grenfell and it is going to kill me." 

"KlMPESE, 

" July 22, 1909. 
"MY DEAREST LlLY AND ALICE, I know you 

won t mind another joint letter when you hear the 
reason. Thank you so much for your kind letters 
telling us all the sad details of dear father s last 
days and funeral. You know how we loved him, 
and I cannot think of that armchair without him 
and the outstretched hands and kind smile with 
which he always greeted us. It is well with him ! 
May you two dear ones be kept and comforted ! 
" Well, two weeks ago to-night I went to bed 
with fever, and yesterday I got into the sitting- 
room for the first time. I am reclining on the 
couch writing this, so you must not mind pencil. 
On the Sunday hsematuria appeared, and all Sunday 
and Monday I was very seriously ill. On Sunday 
morning, as soon as was possible, Dr. Sims arrived, 
but I had just taken a turn for the better. He 
said the treatment was quite satisfactory, but gave 
me some fresh medicine and watched me care- 



fully. The next morning he pronounced me out 
of danger, so was able to return to Matadi, leaving 
all directions with Tom. Since then I have been 
gradually but surely getting better. The kindness 
of every one has been beyond words, and indeed I 
cannot but feel that my life has been spared in 
answer to prayer, though, under God, I owe it to 
the careful and skilful nursing of my dear husband. 
He has been my only nurse night and day and has 
had strength sufficient. The Moons, Mr. Phillips, 
and Dr. Sims have done all they could in every 
way. Mr. P. sent up by the mail to San Salvador. 
Yesterday two men arrived post haste with letters 
so full of kindness and love that they nearly upset 
me. When the natives heard of my illness they 
arranged to send, and pay, a messenger with a 
loving letter of sympathy had done it, indeed, 
before the missionaries were aware. Dr. Gamble 
wrote to say he was ready to come at once if Dr. 
Sims could not stay, and Mrs. Bowskill wanted to 
come and nurse me. Mr. B. said she was pining 
to be with me. Mr. P. sent to them a special 
messenger with the Doctor s report that I was 
better, and part of the morning service was given 
up to prayer for us. I think it was lovely of them, 
now that we have been away for so long, and very 
encouraging ; so I tell it you. I cannot write all 
these details over again, so read to Mrs. P. what I 
have written. I am so glad you were having a 
change, and trust you are getting over the strain a 
bit now. I am being fed up, only I don t want to 
eat. This afternoon I had a ride round the piazza. 

" Ever yours lovingly, 

" GWEN." 



FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 327 

" KlMPESB, 

" August 13, 1909. 

" MY DEAREST FANNY. Many thanks for your 
long newsy letter. I am sorry I cannot send you 
one ditto. Possibly you may have heard of my 
serious illness hsematuric fever. It is five weeks 
since I went down, and here I am still in bed with 
temperature 100 5. Tom had one of his gastric 
and fever attacks in the middle of it, so we had 
to nurse each other. Now he is up and about 
again. And if all goes well we hope to travel 
to England some time next month with Dr. and 
Mrs. Gamble. Of course we can only make pro 
visional plans, and leave our future in God s 
hands. But it seems the only thing to do. Please 
tell Mr. Hawker and any other friends. You will, 
I know, pray for us that we may reach England 
in safety. Love to all dear friends, especially your 
dear self. 

" Yours lovingly, 

"GWEN." 

" KlMPKSE, 

" August 16, 1909. 

" MY DEAREST BEE, Your letters came on 
Saturday just as ours had gone. We hope to 
send this by French mail, and you will get it in 
the middle of September. I am afraid I have 
treated you badly without meaning to do so. 
Never mind, dear old Bee, we will make it up 
when we meet. On Saturday came very kind 
letters from San Salvador, and one from Dr. 
Gamble, in which he said the only thing to be 
done for us folks was that he and his wife should 



328 FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 

come to look after us, so they were packing up to 
go by the next mail, and would be with us next 
week to help us to pack, and then take us home 
with them. I suppose, therefore, it is pretty 
certain that we shall start by boat on September 
5th, and arrive about the end of the month. There 
is no knowing where we land. We shall wire 
when we get somewhere. I am in bed now, but 
yesterday made some headway and was lifted 
on to a couch and hope to be again to-day. My 
temperature was normal, or below, this morning, 
but it rises a little daily. It is a relief to know 
the Gambles are coming. I am especially glad for 
Uncle s sake, for although about he is not fit to 
do everything. Don t try to get rooms : I like 
to see to that myself. We shall probably be at 
66 again. 

" Your ever loving Aunt, 

" GWEN." 

PS. Heaps of love to you all. I hope you will 
have a nice holiday. 

" KlMPBSB, 

" August 26, 1909. 

" MY DEAR MRS. HOWELL, I have wanted to 
write to thank you so much for your kind letters 
and for the lovely eggs, which I have greatly 
enjoyed. Your letter to-day is very kind, for 
I am sure you will have a busy time preparing 
for the Conference. I am thankful to say I am 
very much better. I have walked into the bed 
room for the first time with my husband s assist 
ance. I daresay you have heard that both Dr. 



FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 329 

Sims and Dr. Gamble have ordered us home. Dr. 
and Mrs. G. have been here now a week, helping 
to nurse and pack, and we hope to go down next 
Tuesday to Matadi and home with them. They 
have hastened their homegoing by one mail so 
as to take us with them, and have been most 
kind, as indeed has every one. Mr. Thomas from 
Wathen was here for a week giving a hand all 
round. As probably you heard, Mr. Lewis was 
down for nine or ten days with fever and gastric 
attack, so we were both in bed together. Our 
children have been most good, indeed I don t 
know what we should have done without them, 
especially two. Mr. Frame has kindly consented 
to take Mr. Lewis s place while we are away. 
He has just been here for two nights arranging 
things, and left us this morning. You can under 
stand how loath we were to go, but it seems the 
only thing to do, as we are neither of us fit to 
face another session s work. Mrs. Moon will do 
her best for the women, but she is not free with 
the language. Still they will be able to join some 
of the men s classes. 

" I am writing this on the couch, so please excuse 
pencil. This must be to say goodbye. May you 
all be kept in health. We are so sorry to hear of 
the bad colds. God bless and keep you in all your 
goings and comings. Kindest regards to your 
husband and Mr. and Mrs. Stonelake, and love to 
yourself, from 

" Yours affectionately/ 

" GWEN E. LEWIS." 

This was the last letter Mrs. Lewis ever wrote. 



330 FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 

The rest may be told in a few words. The 
railway journey was accomplished with com 
parative comfort. The authorities reserved a 
compartment for her and she travelled in bed. 
On September 5th the party sailed from Matadi. 
The unremitting and skilled attention of Dr. 
and Mrs. Gamble was of greatest comfort to the 
patient and her husband, and during five days 
there was hopeful improvement, and happy 
intercourse was enjoyed. Then hsematuria sud 
denly returned and hope was relinquished. She 
said quietly to her husband : " Tom, we know as 
much about this as the doctors ; I think I am 
dying, don t you ? " And he had to reply, " Yes, 
my darling, I do." Then she concerned herself 
with messages to her friends, some of whom she 
saw with the clearness of vision, and much was 
said of Camden Road Church, and even of its 
Sale of Work, which she had hoped to attend. 
She was especially concerned for her sister and 
her nieces, saying simply, " They will be grieved " ; 
and begged that Mr. Myers, who, five-and-twenty 
years before, had brought her news of John 
Hartland s death, might bear the heavy tidings 
to them. The words " They will be grieved," 
became a kind of refrain which she repeated 
after naming her friends. She could not bear 
gloom, and smilingly rebuked her doctors for 
looking grave, saying, " One would think it was 
a terrible thing to die." The Mission was more 
to her than life, and she said to her husband, 
"It is well that I am going. The doctors would 
never allow me to return, and that would block 
your work ; now you will be free to go on 



FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 331 

with it." She lingered for days, calm and bright, 
often murmurously singing hymns, the tunes only 
when the words no longer came at call ; and on 
September 17th passed away, holding tightly the 
hand of the man to whom she had been gentle 
wife, and gallant comrade, and perennial inspira 
tion, for three-and-twenty years. 

"Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail 
Or knock the breast ; no weakness, no contempt, 
Dispraise or blame ; nothing but well and fair, 
And what may quiet us in a death so noble." 

Every one on board had exhibited the kindliest 
concern during her illness. The captain and the 
stewards could not do enough for her ; and the 
sorrow occasioned by her death was shared by all. 
Her funeral was reverently ordered. The officers 
attended in full uniform, and all the stewards and 
passengers were present. M. Renkin, the Belgian 
Colonial Minister, who had so recently been her 
guest, for whom she had set out all her pretty 
things, and from whom she hoped good service for 
Congo, walked in the procession to the main deck, 
immediately behind the chief mourner. The 
captain read the burial service, and as the day 
was dying her body was committed to the deep, 
off Cape Blanco. 

***** 

When Mr. Lewis arrived in this country he 
received nearly a hundred letters expressing sym 
pathy with him in his great bereavement and 
appreciation of his wife. The following typical 
quotations are taken from letters written by four 



332 FIRST SESSION AND LAST VOYAGE 

friends of Mrs. Lewis whose names are mentioned 
in this book. 

From Mrs. Edward Robinson, Bristol : " My 
thoughts go back to the time when she stayed 
with us before she was married, and I always 
retained such a loving regard for her, and thought 
her one of the finest women I knew. The loss to 
the Mission will be almost irreparable." 

From the Rev. William Brock, London : "I knew 
your dear wife when she was still Miss Thomas, 
and used to come over to Heath Street from the 
West Heath. How keenly was she then looking 
forward to work in Africa ! Yours was an ideal 
union : both of you such ardent and far-seeing 
missionaries, and each so fitted to the other, as 
by the very hand of God. The new sphere, too, 
seemed made for you both, and you for it. Well, 
she must be wanted for some heavenly ministry." 

From Mrs. Jenkyn Brown, Birmingham : " It is 
little to say we all loved her every one must 
but we had the privilege of knowing her better 
than many, and I almost inherited love for her 
before we met, from my husband, who had known 
her longest." 

From Mrs. Hooper, of Kibokolo : " To me Mrs. 
Lewis has ever been a dear elder sister, honoured 
and loved unspeakably. My sorrow is too deep 
for words." 



CHAPTER XVIII 

CHARACTERISTICS 

MORE than once, since I began to write this 
book, it has been remarked to me by 
persons whose thoughts of Mrs. Lewis were alto 
gether kindly, that she was an ordinary woman, 
and that the interest of her life is rather due to 
circumstance than to personality. Dissenting pro 
foundly from this judgment, regarding her as one 
of the most extraordinary women I have ever met, 
I have wondered how such an opinion could have 
arisen. And I have to confess that if the lack of 
specific brilliant endowments makes a person ordi 
nary, then perhaps there is excuse for speaking 
of Mrs. Lewis in such terms. Of genius, in the 
usual acceptation of the term, she had none. And 
no one was more perfectly aware of this than her 
self. She had no great learning. She was not a 
great speaker. Her speeches were quiet, earnest, 
matter-of-fact statements of the things which she 
had seen with her eyes, or which she most surely 
believed in her heart. She was not a brilliant 
writer. Her letters are interesting, and often 
fascinating, because she tells, with artless direct 
ness, stories of life and work which are remote 

333 



334 CHARACTERISTICS 

from common experience. And withal her per 
sonal bearing was quiet and unobtrusive to a 
degree. 

Mrs. Lewis was an extraordinary woman, not by 
reason of unusual mental endowments, but rather 
by reason of distinguished moral and spiritual 
qualities, which achieved such co-ordination and 
control and consecration of modest gifts, as re 
sulted in the building up of exalted character and 
the accomplishment of splendid work. Her life 
affords an illustration of the truth that common 
gifts, conscientiously used to the utmost limits of 
their content, become uncommon, and that whoso 
does his absolute best in a good cause avails 
himself of the mystic forces of a divinely ordered 
universe, unconsciously, if unconsciously, fulfilling 
Emerson s injunction : " Hitch your waggon to a 
star." 

If Mrs. Lewis s gifts were common gifts, they 
were good gifts, and she had good store of them. 
No woman could have done what she did without 
a splendid physical constitution, managed and 
conserved with the wisdom of common sense. 
Her powers of endurance under exhausting and 
perilous conditions often elicited her wondering 
gratitude. In exigent circumstances, when the 
call of God came to her, she could take the 
biggest risks, brave woman that she was. But 
in normal conditions her devotion to her vegetable 
garden and her religious solicitude for all the 
details of domestic management which made for 
hygiene, proved how precious in her eyes was the 
matter of health, without which the work could 
not be done. The reader will remember that in 



CHARACTERISTICS 335 

her discussion of the qualifications of a woman 
missionary, next after spiritual fitness she places 
a sound constitution. In her judgment an imper 
fect recognition of the fundamental importance of 
this matter was the simple and lamentable ex 
planation of much sorrow and disappointment 
and loss. 

Possibly not without subtle relation to her sound 
physical constitution was her notable force of will, 
which has been sufficiently illustrated in the fore 
going pages. And I think it likely that the 
calmness which was one of her marked charac 
teristics was due to her consciousness that when 
all was said she would do what seemed to her to 
be right, to the limit of her powers, irrespective 
of opposition, protest, or demur. Irritation, fuss, 
and fluster are the froth of weakness. She knew 
herself to be strong. She feared God and nothing 
else, and declined to waste her energy in super 
fluous perturbation. 

In her native force of will is to be found the 
explanation of her extraordinary power of work. 
The amount of labour which she got through day 
by day in the debilitating climate of tropical 
Africa is amazing to many people of normal 
health, who perform their tasks in the compara 
tively bracing atmosphere of the homeland. What 
she willed to do she did. Fluctuations of mood 
were disregarded ; petty distractions were dis 
allowed. Enlightened and determined, she kept 
her course, as a liner forges on its way in spite 
of contrary winds, or buffeting seas, or enervating 
calms. Of course the volume and value of her 
work were immensely increased by her strict 



336 CHARACTERISTICS 

observance of method. She worked by plan ; and 
here again it is force of will that tells. We are 
all of us methodical in ideal. The most casual 
of mortals has probably made schemes of work 
and time-tables enough to suffice for the good 
ordering of half a dozen lives. We resolve to 
make plans, exhaust our impulses in the seductive 
labours of construction, and fail in the detail of 
fulfilment. Mrs. Lewis made her plans and did 
what she planned to do. In an early chapter I 
have referred to her diary-keeping. Another 
illustration may be cited. Fifteen years before 
her death she determined to retain copies of her 
letters. The last letter she ever wrote, given in 
the previous chapter, was taken from her copy, 
and not from the original. 

Her patience was as impressive as her strength 
of mind, and she had need of it all. The perver 
sities and the backslidings of men and women and 
children for whose salvation she toiled and prayed 
tried her sorely, but she never gave up hope or the 
effort and the prayer which hope inspires. The 
children under training in her household were a 
care to her by day and night, which she sustained 
to the very end. After the session had closed at 
Kimpese, and when the illness was already upon 
her which resulted in her death, she wrote a long 
letter to Mrs. Bowskill, extending to several 
closely written quarto pages, discussing mission 
business. In the course of it she gave an account, 
not untouched with humour, of the impish tricks 
of one small girl of the household, whose genius 
for mischief engineered a series of midnight 
casualties and alarums suggestive of the inter- 



CHARACTERISTICS 337 

fcreiice of malignant spirits. Detected and foiled 
in other matters, the culprit one night startled the 
dormitory with outbursts of screaming, ostensibly 
occasioned by a recurrent dream that she was 
being badly beaten. Finally, Mrs. Lewis sent her 
husband to assure the innocent sufferer that next 
time the dream came he would fulfil it with a stick. 
There was no next time. 

But the grand trial of her patience was the 
seven years work at Kibokolo. By long labour, 
by kindness which could not be exhausted and 
would not be gainsaid, she won the respect and 
confidence of her wild, barbarous neighbours, and 
toward the end of her stay there were hopeful 
signs of coming harvest the harvest of souls, for 
which her soul longed with passion derived from 
the very heart of God. She often spoke of the 
weariness and discouragement of those years of 
waiting. But her patience never failed. She held 
to her work, confident that if not in her day, yet 
surely in days that followed hers, the faithful 
sowing would be recompensed by Divine increase. 
It was even so. And the patience which waited 
for it was divine patience. I do not know whether 
she was acquainted with Dora Greenwell s " Car- 
mina Crucis," but I can well imagine her finding 
comfort in one fine verse, so perfectly expressive 
of her own soul s attitude : 

"And while my God is waiting I can wait." 

There is little need to speak of her courage. I 
decline to call it masculine. There was nothing 
masculine about her. Her courage was sustained 

Englishwoman in Africa 23 



338 CHARACTERISTICS 

by faith. She was engaged on God s business ; she 
trusted Him to take care of His servant, and 
trusting found no cause for fear. One incident 
which I have failed to locate in the story may be 
cited in further illustration. In the course of a 
journey which she was making with her husband 
through unexplored country, her hammock-bearers 
and a number of carriers got ahead of Mr. Lewis, 
who had been detained. Suddenly their progress 
was barred by armed natives, who opened fire. 
The carriers dropped their loads and bolted, and 
her hammock-bearers besought permission to set 
her down. This she peremptorily refused, and by 
sheer power of will kept them to their duty. 
There was more firing, but putting large trust in 
God and some lesser confidence in the bad marks 
manship of the natives with their flint-lock guns, 
she waited until Mr. Lewis came up and placated 
the enemy. 

If Mrs. Lewis lacked the brilliant intellectual 
qualities which are notes of genius, she possessed 
in liberal measure what genius often wants, in 
disastrous destitution, viz., good sense sense so 
good that it made her far-seeing, as Mr. Brock 
justly observes, and of sound judgment. Her 
papers which have passed through my hands 
prove abundantly how profoundly her practical 
wisdom was respected by her colleagues, who, 
as I have already stated, were accustomed to 
appeal to her for counsel in their many difficulties ; 
and I know that I can claim the concurrence of 
Mr. Baynes and Mr. Wilson when I say that there 
was no woman on the field whose opinions concern 
ing the conduct and the policy of the Mission 



CHARACTERISTICS 339 

were received by the Committee with greater 
consideration. 

She was an excellent judge of character, and 
though charitable toward all men, by no means 
confined herself to the use of honeyed words. She 
never found fault where there was none ; but when 
she found it she described it in plain terms. In 
confidential letters to her friends occur passages 
of personal criticism which would make piquant 
reading if it were permissible to publish them. 
Conscientious and painstaking herself, she loathed 
slackness and slovenliness, especially when they 
appeared in what purported to be the service of 
God. Once, upon a great occasion, she heard a 
paltry speech from a minister of repute. Upon 
a lesser occasion he repeated large part of this 
speech, watered down to more insipid weakness, 
in her hearing and mine. I had known her a long 
time, but the withering terms of her criticism were 
something of a revelation. 

Her habitual calmness of demeanour tended to 
suggest that she was unemotional ; and this some 
times placed her at a temporary disadvantage in 
dealing with people who looked for demonstration. 
She was conscious of such disadvantage ; and I 
recall a letter in which she congratulates a sister 
missionary upon the possession of a temperament 
which encouraged instant response. But " still 
waters run deep," and if Mrs. Lewis was a great 
woman, as I believe she was, it was in chief 
because " she loved much." She loved the dumb 
creatures about her, and was profoundly moved 
by the sight of their suffering. I once said to her 
husband, since her death, " Was her calmness 



340 CHARACTERISTICS 

never broken up ? Did she never explode ? " And 
he replied, " I only remember three or four occa 
sions upon which she was carried away by fierce 
anger, and in every instance it was cruelty to 
animals which provoked the explosion." 

She loved the lowly creatures of God ; but her 
greater love was given to those whom He has 
made in His own image, and for whom Christ 
died. Of her love for her husband and her kins 
folk and her elect friends, who answered her love 
in kind, little need be said. It was beautiful and 
worthy of her, but still within i the common range 
of human experience and emotion. The love which 
marked her out and made her great was that holy 
charity which regards with divine compassion 
the ugly, the unthankful, and the evil. Squalid 
African babies, men and women foul with hideous 
vices and enthralled by bestial customs, were to 
her kind heart the dear objects of incessant solici 
tude. Enlightened by her great love, she under 
stood the frightful strength of the forces which 
crushed them, yet steadfastly believed in the 
possibility of their deliverance. Surrounded by 
naked savages possessed by legions of devils, she 
saw as in a vision these same savages, clothed 
and in their right minds, sitting at the feet of 
Jesus, and the vision lured her on to persist, at 
any cost, in those ministries of love through 
which she hoped He might effect the transforming 
exorcism. 

And this great love was begotten and sustained 
in her soul by faith in "Jesus Christ and Him 
crucified." She was an evangelical Christian. In 
early youth, as she journeyed, she came to a place 



CHARACTERISTICS 341 

where there was a cross, and as she gazed at 
Him who hung there, the burden of sin rolled 
away, but the burden of love came upon her, and 
she never dropped the blessed load. " He loved 
me and gave Himself for me," was the dominant 
note of those " everlasting chimes " which made 
the cheer and inspiration of her sacrificial life. 
And the love which was " unto death " for her, 
was " unto death " for the whole world. And 
where in the whole world were men and women 
whose need of the knowledge of the love of God 
was more clamant and tragical than that of the 
Congo peoples ? The fingers of the pierced hand 
beckoned her to Africa. To Africa she went ; and 
for Africa she lived and died. 

One personal word, and my task is done. Upon 
his return to England, alone, Mr. Lewis told me 
that during one whole day, as his wife lay dying, 
her minister s name was continually upon her 
lips ; and, moreover, that she had expressed the 
desire that if anything were written about her it 
should be written by his hand. The kindly reader 
will understand that this affecting statement could 
not fail to impart a certain solemn tenderness to 
the temper in which I undertook my work. I 
would that the hand had been more cunning, and 
the heart and brain behind it worthier of the con 
fidence and affection of my friend. But I have 
done my best. I have observed restraint. I have 
painted in quiet colours, as she herself would have 
desired. And if this simple memorial of Christian 
character and consecrated service carries on the 
thought of the reader to the Lord who inspired 



342 CHARACTERISTICS 

them, and elicits sympathy for the cause to which 
they were so freely given, my recompense will be 
great, and I will render humble thanks to God, 
Who made her what she was, and permitted me to 
write her story. 






APPENDIX 

NOTE A. P. 55. 
THE GERMAN ANNEXATION 

THE following passage taken from the Report of the 
Baptist Missionary Society, May, 1885, states the case 
succinctly : 

" For many years past the Committee of the Society 
have indulged the hope that a favourable response would 
be returned by the British Government to the repeated 
appeals from the chiefs and head-men of the Cameroon^ 
district that their country might be taken under the 
government and protection of the English Crown, and 
when sending in memorials to successive Governments 
asking the same favour for the Society s settlement of 
Victoria and the adjacent district belonging absolutely to 
the Mission, the Committee have frequently pleaded on 
behalf of the Dualla people also. 

" With regard to the Cameroons, however, all such expec 
tations must be finally abandoned, as the district is now 
under German authority, the whole country having been 
annexed to the German Empire in August, 1884. The 
story of how this was brought about is so plainly told in 
a recent Blue Book presented in both Houses of Parlia- 

343 



344 APPENDIX 

merit, and entitled Africa, No. 1, 1885. Correspon 
dence respecting affairs in the Cameroons, that further 
reference to it here is unnecessary. 

" The Committee, however, cannot refrain from placing 
on record their sincere regret that the British Government 
so long delayed taking action in response to the numerous 
appeals of the Cameroon chiefs and peoples, as but for 
this delay recent painful and disastrous events might 
altogether have been avoided, and the often expressed 
desires of the Dualla peoples complied with. 

"Nor is the recent annexation of the settlement of 
Victoria by the British Government likely to be attended 
with any real advantage to the dwellers there, if reported 
concessions of surrounding territory by the English 
Government to Germany be a fact ; as by such ar 
rangement the small township and territory belonging 
absolutely to the Mission will be completely environed 
by German possessions, and trade with the interior 
rendered practically valueless in consequence of restric 
tive and almost prohibitive duties and exactions. 

" The outlook at present is dark in the extreme, and 
it appears more than probable that the work of the 
Society on the West Coast, rendered so dear to the 
denomination by the sacrifice of many noble lives and 
the outlay of large sums of money, may have to be 
relinquished. 

" Should this eventually prove needful, the Committee 
earnestly hope that the work there may be carried on 
by some Evangelical German Missionary organisation, 
whose agents may have the joy of reaping a rich harvest 
from the toils, the tears, and the seed-sowing of devoted 
workers, many of whom have fallen asleep. 

"Under present circumstances, however, and while 
negotiations are being carried on with Her Majesty s 
Government by the Committee, it would be premature 



APPENDIX 345 

to forecast the future, or take any definite steps in the 
matter. 

" The Committee are devoting to this painful business 
their constant and careful attention, and they earnestly 
invite friends of the Society to unite in special prayer on 
their behalf, that they may be Divinely guided to such 
issues as shall best promote the glory of God and the 
truest welfare of the peoples of the West Coast." 

The apprehensions of the Committee were realised, 
and in 1887 the stations on the Cameroons River and at 
Victoria were handed over to the Basle Mission. 

NOTE B. P. 110. 

KONGO AND CONGO 
/ 

The ancient kingdom, of which San Salvador was the 
capital, was the kingdom of Kongo. And the language 
of the Lower Congo region, of which Dr. Bentley wrote 
the grammar and dictionary, and into which he trans 
lated the New Testament, is the Kongo language. The 
San Salvador district is spoken of by the natives as 
Kongo. Hence when Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were departing 
for Kibokolo, they were said to be leaving Kongo. The 
distinction between Congo and Kongo is not always 
observed, but the reader will understand, when he meets 
the " K " spelling, that it is not used in error. 

NOTE C. P. 134. 
" CONCERNING THE COLLECTION " 

It may perhaps not be quite superfluous to inform the 
reader that the pig was duly paid for, and its price 



346 APPENDIX 

placed in the treasury, before it was eaten at the Mission 
Christmas feast. Obviously all the other items of this 
strange collection must needs be in like fashion turned 
into money, for transmission to London. Otherwise 
Mr. Baynes and his staff would have been decidedly 
embarrassed by the receipt of a consignment of goods, 
including a very dead pig, a keg of gunpowder, and all 
the rest of it. 

NOTE D. P. 168. 
THE OLD CATHEDRAL 

The Portuguese discovered the Congo River in 1482, 
and in course of time San Salvador became the centre of 
a Christian civilisation of a kind. Several churches were 
built, and the Cathedral ruins referred to were the relics 
of the greatest of them. But the slave trade was of 
greater interest to the Portuguese than the business of 
evangelisation, and ecclesiastics engaged in it. When 
our missionaries reached San Salvador, only the faintest 
traces of earlier missions remained. For many genera 
tions barbarism had resumed its ancient sway. 



NOTE E. P. 194. 
" THE FIRST WHITE MEN " 

When Lieutenant Grandy reached San Salvador in 
1873, the King was ill with small-pox. The traveller 
treated him, left directions for further treatment, and 
foretold the progress of the case. Upon his return from 
Tungwa, he found the King full of wonder at the 
traveller s knowledge and gratitude for his own recovery. 



APPENDIX 347 

By way of proving his gratitude he was asked to treat 
kindly the next white men who came along. He pro 
mised ; and our missionaries reckoned themselves, in 
part, indebted for their good reception to the King s 
fidelity to his promise. 

NOTE F. P. 310. 
" BELLA " 

" Bella " is 27 inches high, with fair hair and eyes that 
open and shut. She was sent out to Kibokolo by the 
children of Belle Isle Church Sunday School, for 
Christmas, 1903. In due course she migrated to 
Kimpese, and though her complexion had suffered in 
the Congo climate, as is usual with English children, 
her first appearance made a great sensation, and the 
fading of her beauty was overlooked by her admirers. 
It was originally intended that she should be the "child" 
of a certain black girl whom the Belle Isle scholars 
supported. But Mrs. Lewis determined that she should 
be the " child " of the Mission ; and to this decision, with 
its consequent restrictions, " Bella " doubtless owes her 
soundness of limb and her comparatively long career. 



INDEX 



ADAMS, Mr., 169, 176 
Allen, Dr., 50 
American Mission, 300 
Antwerp, Seamen s Church, St. 
Paul s, and Cathedral at, 163 
Appendix, 343-7 
Arthington, Robert, 20 

BAIN, Mr. and Mrs., 303 

Balfern, Mr., 158 

Baptist Missionary Society 

Annual Meeting of, 15 

demands compensation for pro 
perty destroyed by Germans, 
66 

valedictory meeting at Bristol, 

88 

Baptist Times, the, 267 
Barosa, Padre, 121, 192 
Baynes, Mr., 30, 37, 54, 61, 82, 

87, 128 
Bayneston, 31 

Beedham, Mr. and Mrs., 185, 186 
Belgian Colonial Minister, 319, 

331 

" Bella," 347 
Bentley, Dr. Holman, 21, 120, 

254, 256, 266, 267 
Bowskill, Mr. and Mrs., 225, 230, 

250, 254 
Bristol, 87 

British Weekly, the, 321 
Brock, Rev. William, 29, 37, 128 
Brook Mount, 46 
Brown, Rev. J. J., and Mrs., 3, 

42, 91, 130 

Buckenham, Mrs., 40, 53, 69 
Burnley, Mr., 50 
Burton, Capt., 19 



Butcher, Mr., 31 

CAMBERWELL, Denmark Place, 

Baptist Church at, 9 
" Camden Road, Congo Sale," the, 

17 
Camden Road, London, church 

at, 4, 297 

Cameron, Mr. and Mrs., 253, 283 
Cameroons, German annexation 

of, unpopular, locally, 55 
" Carmina Crucis," 337 
Catholic Mission, 319 
Churchill, Mr. Winston, 320 
Clarke, George Rix, 2 
Clifford, Dr., 306 
Comber Memorial Station, 183, 

219 

Comber, Miss, 36, 48, 50 
Comber, Percy, 38, 131 
Comber, Dr. Sidney, 15 
Comber, Thos. J., 9-15, 18-23, 

32, 113, 190 
Congo Mission, 20-23 
Crudgington, Mr. Harry, 21 

DIBUNDU, 47 
Doke, Mr., 28, 29 
Dom Miguel, 222 
Dykes, Rev. Oswald, 87 
Dyson, Capt., 53 

ELEMBB, 188, 193 

FLETCHER, Miss, 44, 49 
Forfeitt, Mr. and Mrs. Lawson, 

132, 154, 165, 193, 238, 266, 297 
Forfeitt, Mr. and Mrs. William, 

315 



INDEX 



349 



Fuller, Mr. and Mrs., 69 

GAMBLE, Dr., 296, 300 
Gardiner, Mr., 163 
Geographical Journal, the, 263 
German annexation, the, 343-5 
Graham, Mr. and Mrs, 98, 101, 

102, 103, 132, 191 
Grand Canary, Sailors Institute 

at, 150 

Greenwell, Dora, 337 
" Grenfell, George, Life of," 154, 

321, 325 
Grenfell, Mr. and Mrs., 14, 15, 

19-23, 30, 31, 32, 92, 129, 153, 

267 

HABERSHON, Dr., 282 
Hampstead, Heath Street, church 

at, 37 

Harris, Rendel, 308 
Hartland, John, 11, 16, 21, 29, 30- 

33 

Hartland, Miss Alice, 17, 24, 38 
Hartland, Mrs., 25-8, 30, 33, 34, 

142-4 

(See under " Letters.") 
Hartley, Mr. , 44 
Hay, Mr., 52, 53, 67 
Henderson, Mr., 43 
Hewitt s, Miss Amy, impressions 

of Mrs. Lewis as schoolgirl, 

6-8 

Hewitt, Misses, their school, 5 
Hilldrop Magazine, the, 6 
Hilldrop Old Girls Club, the, 6 
Hooper, Mr. and Mrs., 230 
Hughes. Mr. W., 31 

IPSWICH, history of, 2 
Islington, Providence Hall, Bap 
tist Church at, 3 

JA-JA, King, 44 
" Jeremiah," 99 
Johnston, Sir H., 308 
Johnstone, Mr., 47 

KIMPESE Institute, 284, 312 
Kirkland, Mr., 279 
Kivitidi, 107, 108, 114, 119, 133 
Kongo and Congo, 345 



LADIES Missionary Working 

Party, the, 37 

Lamartiniere, Monsieur de, 7 
Lau, 194 
Lembwa, 98, 99 
Leopold, King, 248 
Letters from Mrs. Lewis to 
Mrs. Hartland, 25-6, 27-8, 29- 
30, 34-5, 36, 40, 49, 55, 63, 
66-7, 71-7, 77-81, 110-11 
Miss Hartland, 35, 86-8, 109, 

120, 146-8, 152-6, 166-8 
Nieces, 70, 135 

Mrs. J. Jenkyn Brown, 111-12, 
158-61, 238-41, 247-50, 266, 
268-70 

" A correspondent," 156-8 
Miss Ethel Percival, 163, 168-9, 
170-3, 257-8, 301, 302-4, 309- 
10, 311, 321 

" Lily and Alice," 325-6 
Mrs. Howell, 328-9 
Mr. Baynes, 179-82, 219-23 
Mrs. Pinnock, of Kibokolo, 289 
Mrs. Hooper, of Kibokolo, 289- 

90, 291 
Mrs. Kirkland, of Mabaya, 

290-1 

Mrs. Moon, 293-5 
Miss Taylor, 299-301, 305-7, 

310-11 
Miss Beatrice Percival, 301-2, 

304-5, 307-9 
Mrs. Gamble, 320-1 
" Fanny," 327 
"Bee," 327-8 

Letters from Mr. Lewis to 
Mrs. Hartland, 68-9 
Mr. Wilson, 281-2 
Letters to Mr. Lewis from 
Mrs. Edward Robinson, 332 
Rev. Wm. Brock, 332 
Mrs. Jenkyn Brown, 332 
Mrs. Hooper, 332 
Lewis, Mr., first meeting of, with 
Miss Thomas, 48 ; acts as doctor 
and nurse, 50 ; brief account of, 
52-3 ; compelled by Germans to 
go to Bell Town, 59 ; friendship 
with Miss Thomas, 64 ; goes 
to Old Calabar to meet Miss 
Phillips, 71-2 ; marriage with 
Miss Phillips, 74 ; death of his 
wife, 77 ; engagement to Miss 



350 



INDEX 



Thomas, 85 ; attends valedic 
tory meeting at Bristol, 88-90 ; 
marriage, 90 ; sails for Congo, 
92 ; baptizes five candidates 
at San Salvador, 102 ; builds 
home, 107 ; health fails, goes to 
England, 127; deputation jour 
neys, 129 ; ill with influenza, 
130; sails for Africa, 130; re 
port for 1892, 145-6; seriously 
ill, 148 ; voyage to Grand 
Canary, 149 ; return to Mission, 
153 ; undertakes planning and 
directing work of building new 
chapel, 173 ; opening of new 
chapel, 184-97 ; invited to settle 
in Kibokolo, 198 ; story of work 
in Zombo, 198-215 ; review 
of work in connection with 
the Congo Mission, 215-19; 
new home in Kibokolo, 224; 
account of reception and pros 
pects, 224-6 ; accompanied by 
Mr. Cameron on journey of itin 
eration, 254 ; reads paper before 
Royal Geographical Society, 
262 ; visits England for sake of 
health, 281 ; sent to Edinburgh, 
283 ; deputation work, 284 ; 
offered and accepts appointment 
of B.M.S. tutor at United 
Training Institute, Lower Con 
go, 284 ; article by, on Kimpese 
Institute in Missionary Herald, 
285-9 ; account of opening of 
United Training Institute by, 
312-4 ; death and burial of wife, 
331 

Lewis, Mrs., birthplace and 
parentage, 1-3 ; her affection for 
Wales, 1 ; comes under in 
fluence of Rev. Francis Tucker, 
5 ; conversion, baptism, ad 
mission to Church fellowship, 
becomes Sunday-school teacher, 
5 ; influence of T. J. Comber 
upon, 9 ; death of her mother, 
16 ; death of brother-in-law, 18 ; 
becomes governess, 26 ; dis 
patches letter to Mr. John 
Hartland accepting proposal of 
marriage, 27 ; studies Portu 
guese, 27 ; death of her father, 
28 ; receives news of John 



Hartland s death, 30 ; accepted 
by Baptist Missionary Society, 
36 ; receives farewell gifts from 
Camden Road Church, 37 ; 
embarks on the Corisco for the 
Cameroons, 38 ; suffers from 
sea-sickness, 39 ; arrives at 
Madeira, 40 ; story of Benin 
expedition, 42-3 ; reaches Vic 
toria, meets Mr. Lewis, 48 ; 
attacked with fever, 49 ; called 
to nurse Miss Comber, 50-52 ; 
a good sailor, 54; misadven 
tures on board the Congo, 54 ; 
writes account of German 
attack, 55-60 ; strong friend 
ship with Mr. Lewis, 64-5 ; 
left with Mr. Lewis in charge 
of Mission at Bethel station, 
66 ; in poor health, 67 ; meets 
Miss Phillips, 72 ; in a tornado, 
73 ; at marriage of Mr. Lewis 
and Miss Phillips, 74-5 ; ac 
count of illness, death, and 
burial of Mr. Lewis s first wife, 
77-81 ; returns to England, 82 ; 
receives, and declines, proposal 
of marriage, 84 ; engagement 
to Mr. Lewis, 85 ; in residence 
at Zenana Medical Home, 85 ; 
experiences at Bristol, 86-8 ; 
attends valedictory meeting at 
Bristol, 88-90 ; married to Mr. 
Lewis, 90 ; sails for Congo, 92 ; 
diary of journey to San Sal 
vador, 92-101 ; work at San 
Salvador described, 104-6 ; 
journey to Madimba, 115-19 ; 
mastery of language, 120; cir 
cular letter, 122-5 ; sent to 
England, 126; returns to San 
Salvador, 127 ; accompanies 
husband to England, 127 ; 
Congo Sale at Camden Road, 
128; ill with influenza, 130; 
sails for Africa, 130 ; extracts 
from circular letter, 139-41 ; 
accompanies husband to Grand 
Canary, 149 ; return to Mission, 
153 ; deputation work in Eng 
land, 162-3 ; resting in Switzer 
land, 163 ; return to duty, 165 ; 
contracts mumps, 168 ; circular 
letter, 173-8 ; writes account of 



INDEX 



351 



opening of new chapel at San | 
Salvador, 184-97 ; visits Kibo- 
kolo, to found Comber Memorial 
Station, 219-23 ; her affection 
for dumb animals, 228-9 ; ex 
tracts from correspondence 
giving impressions of life at 
Kibokolo, 231-62 ; account of 
visit to Mabaya, 265-6 ; journey 
to San Salvador, to nurse Mr. 
Mayo, 273-5 ; takes Mrs. Mayo 
to Matadi, 276-7 ; extracts from 
diary, 278-9; visits England, 
281 ; death of niece, 283 ; holi 
days at Stockholm, Peebles, 
Pwllheli, Deal, Millington, 
292-3 ; serious attack influenza, 
295 ; returns to Africa, wel 
comed there, 299-301 ; circular 
letter by, 316-20 ; report of her 
work, 322-4 ; stricken with 
fever collapse, 325 ; her last 
correspondence, 326-9 ; death 
and burial, 331 ; characteristics, 
333-42 

Liley, Mr., 44 

Lloyd George, 309 

Lowrie, Mr., 303 

Lualaba River, 20 

Lyall, Mrs., 73, 74 

MABIE, Dr. Catherine, 267 
Maclaren, Dr., 89 
Maentwrog, 1, 162 
Mansonso, 197 
Masson, 1C. Gustave, 37 
Mata, 192, 202, 203, 204, 221 
May, Mr. and Mrs., 26 
Mayo, Mr. and Mrs., 271-9 
Missionary Herald, the, 45, 122, 

127, 142, 199, 233, 284, 312 
Moolinaar, Mr., 122 
Moon, Mr., 302-3, 310 
Myers, Rev. J. B., 30 

NDONZWAU, 193 
Ndosimao, 222 
Newport, Mon., 129 
Nlekai, 108, 109, 135, 190 
Nodes, Miss Rosa, 10, 24 

ORAM, Mr., 158 

PARKINSON, Mr. C. W., 151, 161, 163 



Parkinson, Mantu, 189 
Parkinson, Miss May, 151 
Penmaenmawr, 162 
Percival, Beatrice, 18 
Percival, Ethel, 18 
Percival, Eva, 18, 282-3 
Percival, Dr. Richard, 18 
Pewtress, Miss Emily, 10 
Pewtress, Mr. S. Leslie, letter 

from, 12-13 
Pewtress, Stephen, 10 
Phillips, Mr., 92, 93, 94, 97, 98, 

101, 104, 132, 174, 175, 176, 

185, 196, 306, 307, 308 
Phillips, Mrs., death of, 179 
Phillips, Miss, 53, 65 
" Pilgrim s Progress," the, 270, 

281 

Pinnock, Mr. John, 52, 71, 149, 197 
Pople, Mr., 155 

ROBINSON, Mr. and Mrs., 87 

Ross, Mr., 87 

Royal Geographical Society, 262 

SAKER, Alfred, 19 

Saker, Miss, 44, 46, 47, 49, 53 

San Salvador 

King of, 117, 132 

Catholic Mission at, 121, 135 
Scrivener, Mr., 93 
Seymour, Mrs., 24-5, 61, 86 
Silvey, Mr., 47, 50, 58 
Sims, Dr., 303 
Smith, Annie, 8, 131 
Smith, Emily, 8, 17 
Smith, Mrs. Frank, 87 
Smith, Mrs. Jonas, 17 
Smith, Jonas, 8, 14 
Soden, Baron Von, 75 
Spencer, Miss, 296, 300 
Stapleton, Mr. Walter, 126 
Swedish Missionary Society, 285 
Sygrave, Miss, 271 

THOMAS, Eliza Jane, 18 
Thomas, George, 1 
Thomas, Griffith, 1-3 
Thomas, Herbert, 4 
Thomas, Jane, 2 
Thomson, Mrs. Quintin, 45 
Tucker, Rev. Francis, 4 
Tyndale Chapel, 87 



352 



INDEX 



UNION Chapel, Manchester, 4 
United Conference of Congo Mis 
sionaries, 266 
United Training Institute, 284, 312 

VITA, 166, 188, 195 

WAVATIDI, 192 
Weeks, Mr., 101, 102 



Weeks, Mrs., 93 

Welford, Mr. and Mrs., 71 

Wherrett, Mr. , 163 

Wilson, Rev. C. E., 281-2, 296, 

338 
Wooding, Mr. and Mrs., 225, 272 

ZOMBO 
Scheme, 178 
Story of work in, 198-215 



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